31st Parliament · 1st Session
Mr SPEAKER (Rt Hon. Sir Billy Snedden) took the chair at 2. 1 5 p.m., and read prayers.
- Mr Speaker, since the House last met President Tito of Yugoslavia has died. The House will wish to be advised formally that the Government extended its deep sympathy to the Government and people of Yugoslavia and that Australia was represented at President Tito’s funeral by the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Peacock).
President Tito was both a great statesman and a great nationalist. He led his country selflessly and tirelessly for 35 years and indeed was the architect of modern Yugoslavia. The popular support which he enjoyed enabled him to unite a previously divided Yugoslavia after the turmoil of the war years. Backed by a united and fiercely independent nation, he was able openly to defy the Soviet Union’s overbearing attempts in the immediate post-war years to absorb Yugoslavia into the then monolithic Soviet bloc. President Tito’s courageous defiance has had a lasting effect not only on Yugoslavia but also in the international arena. He helped to found the nonaligned movement and was one of the most influential and respected leaders of that movement. He asserted the right of all countries to a genuine independence. He staunchly criticised the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia and, more recently, the Sovietbacked Vietnamese invasion of Kampuchea. He resisted to the last attempts to suborn the nonaligned movement for Soviet ends. Courage and independence were thus the hallmarks of President Tito’s actions. These qualities are clearly relevant to the world in which we live. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan has illustrated that the threat of external subjugation is no less real today than it was when President Tito confronted it in 1948. So he will be sorely missed not only in Europe but also in most parts of the world, and especially in the many Third World countries which have taken inspiration from his example and from the development of modern Yugoslavia into a strong and stable nation.
The Government has made clear on several occasions in the past its recognition of the importance of Yugoslavia’s independence in the context of the security and stability of Europe. Moreover, we recognise the importance of the ideals of independence and self-determination exemplified by President Tito and modern Yugoslavia. Australia thus readily joins with those countries which have expressed to President Tito’s successors their support and their firm hope that Yugoslavia will continue unimpeded on the same course President Tito so skilfully and courageously set.
I suggest, Mr Speaker, that it would be appropriate for this House to place on record its understanding and appreciation of President Tito ‘s contribution to Yugoslavia and to the noncommunist world.
- Mr Speaker, the death of President Tito has removed from the world scene the last of the titans of World War II. It has brought in its wake a universal sense of loss, a feeling that the world will never be the same again. One of the great bulwarks of international peace and stability has been removed. Predictably, there has been a heightened sense of unease and apprehension. Tito’s presence as President of Yugoslavia was a source of tremendous reassurance to the world. He stood as a massive and indomitable figure at the heart of what has always been the most volatile part of Europe, even the world. The removal of this prop, inevitable and long expected as it was, will diminish the sense of security for many.
Tito’s monumental calm in the face of intolerable provocation and denunciation, his avoidance of rash and hasty action, above all his ferocious courage without any trace of impulsiveness, are great personal qualities which will be admired and emulated by statesmen for many generations to come.
Tito’s life touched the unfolding of history at many points: The trenches in World War I; the Russian Revolution; the turbulent state of the Soviet Union of the 1920s and 1930s under Stalin; the Comintern; the Spanish Civil War; World War II and one of history’s greatest partisan resistances; the shaping of modern Yugoslavia; the break with Stalin; the foundation and development of the non-aligned movement in the 1960s and 1970s. None of the other giants of the century, not even Churchill, de Gaulle, Mao or Stalin, can match this record of involvement with the great events of contemporary history.
Tito, let it be clearly understood, was an uncompromising communist, and in many ways the early years of his regime were ruthless and punitive. The savagery of the partisan war persisted to some extent in the formative years of Tito’s Yugoslavia. As the spirit of the war receded
Yugoslavia, under Tito, evolved into the most flexible and, in many ways, the most human of the Eastern communist -states. Tito’s doctrinaire communism was always tempered with a spirit of ingenuity and innovation. There was much to admire in the pattern of industrial organisation which he developed and in his superb organisation of a civilian defence structure to meet the threat from the Soviet Union. He created a society which was indisputably a communist society but one with attractive and innovative features. It was also, over many years, much the most accessible of the communist states to foreign visitors.
Tito was a politician of exquisite political gifts; an administrator with a sense of timing unequalled by any other politician of our time. He moulded an effective and viable modern state out of a group of diverse states and provinces, whose turbulence and propensity for fragmentation had long been a byword in Europe. He will be sadly missed as Yugoslavia struggles to assert its national unity and independence in the face of tremendous pressures and tensions.
On behalf of the Opposition, I place on record our admiration of the achievements of President Tito of Yugoslavia, express our sympathy to his people and our best wishes to his successors in the unenviable task that has befallen them.
– On behalf of the National Country Party of Australia, I join the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) in expressing condolences to President Tito’s family and the people of Yugoslavia. President Tito was a truly great man. On a visit to the military museum in Belgrade one can easily see, in graphic form, the logistic and physical difficulties that he had in bringing the partisans together to form a united force against Hitler. He proved to be one of the great leaders of the free world during that war, and he will certainly be remembered for that. But his achievements within Yugoslavia, particularly in the post-war years, were equally remark- able. President Tito brought the country together and laid the framework for the stability of the nation. He achieved a special independence for Yugoslavia in the Eastern bloc countries by resisting hard-line Soviet influence. He developed for Yugoslavia a policy which is unique. His foreign policy ideas made Yugoslavia a champion of the Third World. He strove tirelessly for non-alignment. He organised a nonalignment conference in Belgrade in 1961 which was attended by 23 countries. A second conference, in Cairo in 1 964, attracted 47 countries.
Many people always think of division amongst the Yugoslav people when thinking about that nation. Clearly there is division. Yet the news film of the hundreds of thousands of Yugoslavs lining every avenue that his coffin passed brings home the reality that he did have a tremendous following amongst his people. This is certainly something which I found on the two visits which I made to Yugoslavia. I recall particularly, one warm evening in Belgrade, walking through a city park. There people from every part of Yugoslavia and working in Belgrade were performing traditional songs and dances and, in a spontaneous way, displayed a solid feeling of national pride and achievement. Yugoslavs have every reason to be proud and also have a lot to strive for in the future.
Belgrade, placed on the junction of the Danube and Save rivers, has a long history spanning many centuries as a strategic city and is indeed known as a fortress city. Yugoslavia itself is a strategically placed nation. I think it is imperative that in these post-President Tito days Yugoslavia maintain the stability and independence that he built up. The need for national unity- which for historical reasons, generations old, will quite clearly be extremely difficult to achieve- is what Yugoslavia must continue to strive for. President Tito evolved a Yugoslavia which now has positive prospects to advance itself as an independent nation. President Tito paved the way for this when he set up a presidium of eight elected representatives from the six States and two autonomous provinces. That presidium is now being put to the test. I am sure all the world will be watching closely to see how successful its administration will be. For the sake of Yugoslavia’s continued independence and stability I hope that it succeeds. Fragmentation or open disunity may well be seen by some power blocs as an invitation for intervention.
Mr Speaker, with the passing of President Tito the world has seen the end of an era which included such men as Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin and de Gaulle. I and my colleagues in the National Country Party express our deep appreciation for what the President achieved in his life and hope that Yugoslavia is able to continue to progress and to prosper with stability and independence.
-This may not be the most appropriate time to refer to Marshal Tito in the terms in which I propose to do so, but I think it is utter hypocrisy to talk about him as if he were one of the greatest democratic statesmen the world has ever seen. He was a nationalist and, therefore, we supported him, on foreign policy grounds, against the Soviet Union because it was the only aggressive nation in that part of the world. But I think I would be hypocritical and wrong if I did not represent the view of the majority of former Yugoslavian citizens in my electorate, and I am sure in the whole of Australia, and point out that he was a dictator. We supported his foreign policy, but do not let us gloss over the fact that he was a dictator in charge of an authoritarian regime. We supported particular aspects of his policy, but let us hope that it will not be necessary for Yugoslavia to continue as a dictatorship.
– I represent an electorate with a high content of Australians of Yugoslav origin. For many years I have been concerned with activities within that Yugoslav community in Victoria. I have visited Yugoslavia on a couple of occasions in recent years and I have had the opportunity to see the development that has taken place in that country under Marshal Tito ‘s guidance. There is no doubt that, for a country in the communist bloc, it shows fierce independence. It shows the sorts of development and flexibility which have given it a special status in the Third World. There is no doubt what Marshal Tito represented to Australians of Yugoslav origin. He was the developer of their homeland in many peaceful and economic ways. He was able to unite an area which has a very long and torrid history of trouble. Yet now Yugoslavia is a nation with pride in itself, with a very influential role in the Third World, and is respected on all sides.
On Friday I attended a memorial service held in Melbourne by the combined Yugoslav communities. It was a simple and moving ceremony at which they traced Marshal Tito’s life. There was no doubt at that ceremony what the combined Yugoslav communities in Victoria thought of Marshal Tito. I felt that I must take the opportunity, as the representative in this Parliament, of so many Yugoslav people to express the deep regret they feel at his passing and their high hopes that, whilst they are now Australians, their homeland will develop further on the course he has set. I join them in their tribute to a great man.
-As one of a few members of this Parliament who attended the Belgrade Conference in 1961, it would be neither proper nor right for me not to say a very few words about what that conference meant to the world and what its result has been. It was entirely because of actions taken by Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia that the Cuban crisis was not as bad as it could have been. The Belgrade Conference was designed by Marshal Tito and those working with him to avoid what looked like the inevitable calamity. The people of the world and of this House owe Marshal Tito and his people their thanks. Therefore, Marshal Tito’s death is regarded with great sorrow by all those who have been closely related with foreign affairs. His death has been an even worse event for the Yugoslav people. On behalf of the people in my electorate who come from Yugoslavia and perhaps on behalf of those who have been involved in working with the non-aligned nations of the world, I must say that his passing is a matter of deep regret to all and above all the Third World.
-Like the honourable member for Scullin (Dr Jenkins), I have very many people of Yugoslav origin living in my electorate. Josip Broz Tito won more victories against greater odds than any other figure in modern times. His 800,000 partisans, in uneasy association with the Cetniks kept down 17 German divisions and contributed materially to the final outcome of World War II. The War Memorial in Belgrade, as mentioned by the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Nixon), is a moving record not only of the horror and futility of war but also of the courage and tenacity of the human spirit.
Tito struck a monumental blow against Stalin by declaring that Yugoslavia would follow an independent line. He had the advantage of being the only national war hero to seize power anywhere after World War II. He was not placed in power by the Red Army. Tito was a founder of Communist polycentrism- the idea that Communism would have a great variety of national forms and not be a monolithic structure with headquarters in Moscow and a single line imposed uniformly everywhere, regardless of circumstances. He followed the ideas of Antonio Gramsci, later modified by Palmiro Togliatti, and often called ‘the Italian line’. Tito was also a founder, with Nehru and Nasser, of the ‘nonalignment’ movement, and the past 25 years have confirmed the wisdom of his position, now adopted by most of the Third World. It is nonalignment that has made detente possible, so far as it can be said to be still surviving.
I close with a brief historical footnote. I was privileged to know Clement Attlee, Britain’s post-war Prime Minister, in the last years of his life. Attlee had a very cool historical judgment and was consistently correct on more issues than any modern politician I know of. He had known more of the giants of our time than anyone elseChurchill, Lloyd George, Gandhi, Roosevelt, Stalin, Mao, de Gaulle, Chou and Tito. Lord Attlee never wavered in his view, as he told me several times, that Tito was the greatest man he had ever met- the man who had overcome the greatest obstacles and had the fewest resources, both physical and psychological, to support him.
-As a mark of respect to the deceased Marshal Tito I ask honourable members to stand.
Honourable members having stood in their places;
-I thank the House.
– Petitions have been lodged for presentation as follows and copies will be referred to the appropriate Ministers.
To the Honourable Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That there is an urgent need to ensure that the living standard of pensioners will not decline, as indeed the present level of cash benefits in real terms requires upward adjustment beyond indexation related to the movement of the Consumer Price Index. By this and other means your petitioners urge that action be taken to:
Taxation relief for pensioners and others on low incomes by:
And your petitioners in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Anthony, Mr Baillieu, Mr N. A. Brown, Mr Bums, Mr Ewen Cameron, Mr Cohen, Mr Dobie, Mr Fife, Mr Hodges, Mr Holding, Mr Charles Jones, Mr Lucock, Mr Macphee, Mr Morris, Mr Ian Robinson, Mr Scholes, Mr Simon, Mr Street, Mr Thomson and Mr West.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth-
That the National Women’s Advisory Council has not been democratically elected by the women of Australia;
That the National Women’s Advisory Council is not representative of the women of Australia;
That the National Women’s Advisory Council is a discriminatory and sexist imposition on Australian women as Australian men do not have a National Men’s Advisory Council imposed on them.
Your petitioners therefore pray:
That the National Women’s Advisory Council be abolished to ensure that Australian women nave equal opportunity with Australian men of having issues of concern to them considered, debated and voted on by their Parliamentary representative without intervention and interference by an unrepresentative ‘Advisory Council ‘.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Ewen Cameron, Mr Nixon, Mr Simon, Mr Staley and Mr Yates.
To the Right Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled.
The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That the proportion of pensionable people within our community is increasing at a significant rate. The number of people over 65 years old will rise from approximately 8.5% of the population as it was in 1970 to over 10% by 1990 and about 1 6% by the year 2020.
That technological change is accelerating the trend towards earlier retirement from the workforce.
That the above factors make incentives for self-provision in retirement years a matter of great urgency if future generations of Australians are to be spared the crippling taxation which would be necessary to fund such provisions from social welfare.
That Australia is in urgent need of locally raised Investment capital for national development and that life insurance and superannuation funds are important mobilisers of such capital.
Your petitioners therefore most humbly pray that the Government will forthwith take the steps necessary to:
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr N. A. Brown, Mr Chapman, Mr Dobie and Mr Scholes.
To the Rt. Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament Assembled:
The Humble Petition of undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth-
Employees and Self-Employed Contributions to approved
Your Petitioners humbly pray that:
And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Haslem, Mr Hyde, Mr Sainsbury and Mr Shack.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled:
The Petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth-
That the plan to obliterate the traditional weights and measures of this country does not have the support of the people;
That the compulsory tactics being used to force the change are a violation of all democratic principles.
That the change is causing and will continue to cause widespread, serious and costly problems;
Your petitioners therefore pray:
That the Metric Conversion Act be repealed to ensure that the people are free to utilize whichever system they prefer and so enable the return to imperial weights and measures wherever the people so desire;
That weather reporting be as it was prior to the passing of the Metric Conversion Act;
That the Australian Government take urgent steps to cause the traditional mile units to be restored to our highways;
That the Australian Government request the State Government to procure that the imperial and metric systems be taught together in schools.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Dobie, Mr Groom and Mr Porter.
To the Honourable Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives of the Australian Parliament assembled.
The petition of certain citizens respectfully showeth
Their support for and endorsement of the national women’s advisory council and increased federal government support for its activities
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Birney and Dr Edwards.
To the Honourable Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives of the Australian Parliament in Canberra assembled.
The petition of certain citizens respectfully showeth-
That currently discrimination in the provision of work, in appointment to jobs and in promotion exists in Australia on particular grounds including, inter alia, grounds of race, ethnic origin, marital status, pregnancy, sex and /or sexual preference; and
That currently discrimination in the provision of unemployment benefits is exercised against particular groups of individuals- in particular, against married women.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray:
That appropriate laws be formulated and passed to outlaw discrimination in Commonwealth employment, in employment of individuals under federal awards, in employment of persons by statutory bodies and quasi-governmental organisations, and in employment of all persons in areas over which Commonwealth and Australian Capital Territory equal opportunity legislation should have jurisdiction; and
That appropriate laws be formulated and passed to outlaw discrimination in the provision of unemployment benefits to all persons without regard to sex and/or marital status.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Holding and Mr Ruddock.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That, as it is clear that unemployment is a long term problem in Australia, the Government should extend to the unemployed the same assistance as is given to any other disadvantaged member of the community. There is an urgent need to alleviate the financial hardship and emotional stress that the unemployed are suffering.
Your petitioners therefore pray:
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Birney.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled:
The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth-
That the retail price of Australian rum is too high and should be reduced to enable the average Australian to buy it.
Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray that steps be taken to reduce the excise duty on Australian rum.
And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Donald Cameron.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled:
The Petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That a grave threat to the life of refugees from the various States of Indo-China arises from the policies of the Government of Vietnam.
That, as a result of these policies; many thousands of refugees are fleeing their homes and risking starvation and drowning. Because of the failure of the rich nations of the world to provide more than token assistance, the resources of the nations of first refuge, especially Malaysia and Thailand, are being stretched beyond reasonable limits.
As a wealthy nation within the region most affected, Australia is able to play a major part in the rescue as well as resettlement of these refugees.
It should be possible for Australia to: -establish and maintain on the Australian mainland basic transit camps for the housing and processing of 200,000 refugees each year. -mobilise the Defence Force to search for, rescue and transport to Australia those refugees who have been able to leave the Indo-China States. -accept the offer of those church groups which propose to resettle some thousands of refugees in Australia.
The adoption of such a humane policy would have a marked effect on Australia ‘s standing within the region.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Giles.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled:
The humble Petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully urge that: the Government use the Private Day Care centres by subsidising parents in need, giving them their democratic right to freedom of choice.
And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Haslem.
To the Speaker, and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens respectfully showeth:-
That there is an urgent need to ensure that action be taken to protect the living standards of the aged and request that provision be made in the forthcoming budget for the- payment of the full age pension for all citizens over 65 years of age restoration of all indexation to all pensions for those citizens 70 years and over application of quarterly Consumer price indexation to all age pensions granting fringe benefits to all pensioners.
And your petitioners in duty bound will ever pray. by Dr Klugman.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament Assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth that:
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that Parliament will
Reform income tax laws to allow the joint income of husband and wife to be equally divided between them for taxation purposes.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Lucock.
To the Honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully pray that Australia should not be in any way involved in the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow and wherever legally possible all export from Australia to the USSR should be stopped i.e. wheat and produce, all fishing rights denied and all trade to cease immediately until all Russian military personnel have been withdrawn from Afghanistan. by Mr Lusher.
Acquisition of Land in Balmain
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in the Parliament assembled.The Petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
We request that the land currently used by the Australian National Line at Morts Dock, Balmain, be immediately made available for combination development of open space for public use and low cost housing such as Housing Commission one level units, hostel and nursing home, accommodation for aged persons, pensioners, single parent groups and low income earners.
Your Petitioners therefore, humbly pray that your Honourable House consider this Petition.
And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. byLesMcMahon.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of Parliament assembled in the House of Representatives, Canberra. The humble petition of the undersigned members or organisations listed below and citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That the thorough nationwide investigations by the Working Party highlighted the need to establish the National Women ‘s Advisory Council.
That we believe the Council consistently and democratically demonstrates its wide representation of the interests of all Australian women, as shown by the Draft Plan of Action for the 1980 National Conference to be held in Canberra in preparation for Australia’s participation in the United Nations Decade for Women World Conference in Denmark, July 1980.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray:
That the Parliament will continue its support of the National Women’s Advisory Council and its recommendations.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Macphee.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth objection to the Metric system and request the Government to restore the Imperial system.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Millar.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled: The humble Petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth that:
An amendment to the Human Rights Commission Bill 1 979 which secures the rights of human beings before as well as after birth be upheld by the Parliament.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Wilson.
To the Right Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. We the undersigned sportsmen and women and citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia by this humble petition respectfully pray that the Australian Government ensure the participation of a full Australian contingent in the XXII Olympic Games to be held in Moscow, USSR, from 19th July to 3rd August, 1980.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Holding, Mr James, Mr Les Johnson and Mr Willis.
To the Right Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled.
This humble petition of the sportsmen and women and citizens of Australia respectfully showeth that:
Valuing the Olympic movement as an historic expression of all that is worthwhile in human endeavour and conscious of the important role competitive sport plays in maintaining health and the spirit of achievement in everyday life.
Honouring the high principles consistently pursued by the International Games Administration of keeping the movement free from religious, racial and political considerations.
Realising that the Olympic movement owes its resilience and very existence to the citizens of the nations from whom spring the participants in the contests and that the survival of this movement is the cherished hope of all communities.
We the undersigned sportsmen and women and citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia by this humble petition respectfully pray that the Australian Government do all in its power to ensure the participation of a full Australian contingent in the XXII Olympic Games to be held in Moscow, USSR, from 1 9 July to 3 August 1 980.
And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Kerin and Mr Les McMahon.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled:
We the undersigned citizens of Western Australia do herewith pray that her Majesty’s Government of Australia will act to remove the ludicrous and iniquitous policy in relation to overseas flights to Bali and other South Asia Ports from the North of Western Australia.
At present, residents of the Gascoyne/Murchison, Pilbara and Kimberley Regions must fly south to Perth (a considerable distance), board an aeroplane in Perth and virtually retrace the same flight path when travelling to Bali, which adds an unjust cost burden to them.
During the past year a number of charter flights have been organised from Port Hedland to Bali and return but these flights have only been available to ‘Affinity Groups’. The number of successful charter flights is an indication of demand but not a good one because some flights had to be cancelled due to the ‘Affinity Group’ restrictions. The demand therefore, would be considerably higher if regular flights without such restrictions were allowed. By failing to permit regular scheduledflights between Port Hedland (or any other suitable North West Australian Airport) and South East Asia the Government of Australia is exhibiting a total lack of understanding of the residents of the North of Western Australia and not recognising the benefits which may accrue to that area, and indeed Australia, by reciprocal tourist trade.
Decisive action is needed now to remove the iniquitous burden and provide a measure of justice and equity for those Australians who reside in the ‘ forgotten north west ‘.
Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray that your honourable house will give this matter earnest consideration and your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Cotter.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives, of the Australian Parliament assembled.
The Petition of certain citizens of NSW respectfully showeth:
Dismay at the reduction in the total expenditure on education proposed for 1980 and in particular to Government Schools.
Government schools bear the burden of these cuts, 1 1 . 2 per cent, while non-Government schools will receive an increase of 3.4 per cent.
We call on the Government to again examine the proposals as set out in the guidelines for Education expenditure 1980 and to immediately restore and increase substantially in real terms the allocation of funds for education expenditure in 1980 to Government schools.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Morris.
– I inform the House that the Minister for Special Trade Representations (Senator Scott) left Australia on 3 May to lead a resources mission to European Economic Community capitals and to attend a meeting of the International Energy Agency. The Minister for Trade and Resources (Mr Anthony) will act as Minister for Special Trade Representations until Senator Scott’s return on 3 1 May. I also inform the House that the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Peacock) left Australia on 6 May to attend the funeral of President Tito. The Minister for Health (Mr MacKellar) will act as Minister for Foreign Affairs until Mr Peacock’s return on 15 May.
– I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move:
That this House commends the Government on proposing Hobart as the headquarters site for the International Antarctic Commission and now strongly urges the Federal Government to propose Hobart as the permanent site for the International Law of the Sea Tribunal.
-I direct my question to the Prime Minister. I refer him to the clear evidence of turmoil and diminishing morale in the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission reflected in the demotion of Mr Justice Staples and the resignation of Justice Gaudron. I refer him also to the gross imbalance that has arisen on the Arbitration Commission with the appointment of a number of justices whose attitudes strongly reflect the employer side of the industrial sector. What measures does the Prime Minister propose to restore morale to the Arbitration Commission and to ensure its smooth functioning? Will he ensure that future appointments reflect the labour side of the industrial sector, thereby removing any suspicion that this Government is intent on stacking the industrial bench?
– I have discussions on a regular basis with the President of the Conciliation and
Arbitration Commission on a wide range of issues. That is a right and proper thing to do. The subject matter of those discussions remains between me and the President. I will say that this Government has never interfered- nor does it intend to interfere- in the internal workings of the Commission. Yet that is precisely what the Leader of the Opposition is setting out to do. His extraordinary call to members of the bench of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to defend and explain their action in the current circumstances is nothing more than blatant political interference in the internal affairs of the Commission. In fact the Leader of the Opposition tried to threaten the members of the bench. That will fail because it will be seen as an obvious piece of political opportunism. As to future appointments to the bench, notices were put in the Press boxes today that the present Commissioner Judith Cohen has been appointed a Deputy President of the Commission, to take effect on 3 June.
-My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry and refers to the loading of live sheep for export aboard the Al Qurain at Portland in Victoria. Is the Minister aware of weekend reports that 3,000 of the sheep assembled at Portland were culled following inspection by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals? Are these reports correct? Can the Minister assure the House that all the necessary Commonwealth measures are being taken to ensure the welfare of the sheep? What is the latest position with respect to the loading of sheep aboard the Al Qurain?
– The latest position with respect to the loading of the Al Qurain is that as of last night some 17,000 sheep were loaded, and from the latest reports that I have had this morning there are now some 25,000 sheep on board the ship. I understand that there are pickets at the wharf who are engaged in a peaceful demonstration. The loading is continuing, although at a slower pace than I would like. I hope that the pickets remain peaceful and that violence does not emerge out of the demonstrations. I understand the concern of the meat workers over this issue but the facts of the matter show that the live sheep export trade is having a very negligible effect on job opportunities in Australian abattoirs. Live sheep exported are mainly fouryearold and five-year-old merino wethers. There is no market for them in Australia and there is no frozen carcass market for them around the world. The Middle Eastern countries which are prepared to take them will take them live only, to kill fresh. They are not interested in receiving them in carcass form.
The meat workers need to understand that the employment situation in the meatworks has occurred primarily as a result of seasonal downturns. In addition to the seasonal downturn there has been a 30 per cent decline in cattle slaughterings since 1978. The combination of those two factors has caused the seasonal closedown or slowdown of abattoirs at this time of the year. I should point out to the House that the numbers of slaughterings available affect the employment opportunities in the meatworks. To give a figure, in 1973-74 the Australian sheep kill fell by 16.4 million. That was entirely as a result of economic and seasonal influence. Indeed, live sheep exports at that time were negligible. The uncertainty of employment in the abattoirs is part of the recognised working conditions applying to members of the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union. Currently about 60 per cent are employed on a daily hire basis or piecework basis. The fact is that many workers in the industry are employed under awards which provide loadings to compensate for this sort of intermittent employment. So the conditions that the workers are facing in Portland should in the main be covered by special loadings in their awards. I hope that they will recognise that and lift the pickets on the live sheep trade.
In respect of the other pan of the honourable member’s question, I read reports that 3,000 of the sheep at Portland were culled out over the weekend following RSPCA inspection. The reports were not accurate. In fact, the 140,000 sheep that were at the feed lot were passed by a group of inspectors and veterinary officers, including representatives of the RSPCA and the Bureau of Animal Health, as being generally in first class condition. The 3,000 sheep referred to in the Press reports were in fact culled out by the owners in the weeks and months preceding this inspection. There were inspected separately by the RSPCA and the veterinary officers and it was agreed between them that 80 per cent of the 3,000 sheep were also in first class condition and suitable for loading. As a matter of further information for honourable members, I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard an information paper which I had prepared on the export of livestock for slaughter.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRY
May 11, 1980.
Information paper on export of livestock for slaughter
Recent unfortunate episodes concerning the export of live animals from Australia have sparked off considerable public comment on this trade.
One incident was the loading in Melbourne on 5 April of a consignment of horses for Japan which included animals which were unfit to travel. The other was the death of 40,000 sheep on the vessel ‘Farid Fares ‘ which caught fire off South Australia on 28 March and subsequently sank.
These incidents have raised questions as to whether the export of live animals, particularly those intended for slaughter, should be allowed to continue. Others have questioned whether Government regulation of the trade provides adequate safeguards for the welfare of animals.
The Government is most concerned to ensure the highest possible standards for the welfare of all live animals that are exported. In the light of the current public interest, it is worthwhile setting out details of the circumstances and conditions under which the trade is conducted.
Controls on Livestock Exports
Exports of livestock from Australia have long been subject to regulations and administrative procedures aimed at ensuring that animals are not subjected to cruelty or undue stress. These requirements have been kept under constant review and updated as necessary. The most recent example is the imposition of stricter controls on the export of horses.
Currently there are three sets of regulations governing the export of ail livestock by sea:
The Navigation (Deck Cargo and Livestock) Regulations
The Quarantine (Animals) Regulations
The Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations
The Navigation (Deck Cargo and Livestock) Regulations are administered by the Department of Transport. They impose a very comprehensive set of requirements which must be met for a vessel to be approved, and to maintain its approval, to carry livestock.
Still more detailed requirements under the Regulations are spelled out in specifications issued by the Department to shipmasters, shipowners, livestock exporters and others concerned in the trade. The current specifications were issued in June 1978 following a review by a Livestock Advisory Committee convened by the Department. This Committee encompassed a broad range of expert opinion, and included representatives from the RSPCA.
A major thrust of the Regulations and the specifications is protection of the welfare of animals. Some of the main requirements deal with: specifications for pens and stalls, the materials to be used, standards of finish and dimensions for different classes of stock; minimum deck space per animal and specifications for non-slip flooring; quantities and standards of fodder and water to be supplied and specifications for feeding and watering facilities; provision of adequate ventilation and protection from injury from sun, weather and sea; cleaning of pens and provision for effluent drainage; stock medicines to be carried and recommended treatments for animal sickness.
The Quarantine (Animals) Regulations require animals for export to be examined by a veterinary surgeon during the period of 48 hours immediately preceding shipment. This requirement is administered by the Australian Bureau of Animal Health. State or Territory veterinary officers conduct the actual examinations and issue necessary certificates under the direction of the Bureau.
This veterinary examination is to establish that animals are healthy, free from disease, and that any specific quarantine requirements of the importing country are met. For animals which meet the requirements, a Certificate of Health and a Permit to Embark are issued. Any animals which do not meet these conditions are automatically disqualified from export.
It has long been a requirement of the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations that sheep and cattle may not be exported live from Australia unless a permit is issued by the Minister for Primary Industry, or a duly authorised officer. Among other things, the Regulations enable further conditions to be imposed upon exports, to cover health and welfare aspects, if considered necessary. To date, it has not been found necessary to do this for the export of sheep and cattle. The requirements of the other Regulations mentioned, and the good husbandry practices followed by the experienced exporters in these trades, have enabled high standards to be maintained. However, the Government continues to monitor the situation and will impose more stringent requirements if necessary.
Export of Live Horses
Horses have now been brought under the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations, and rigorous new conditions have been imposed which must be met before permits are issued to export horses.
It was not previously considered necessary to specify horses under these Regulations, because up until very recently, the international movement of horses was predominantly for breeding or sporting purposes, with very high health and transportation conditions. It was only when the comparatively small trade in horses to Japan for slaughter developed last year that questions were raised as to the adequacy of the standards for their shipment.
In December 1979, a shipment of horses to Japan was refused loading in Melbourne because the Waterside Workers’ Federation (WWF) believed that the containers in which the horses were to travel were inhumane. The WWF called in inspectors from the Victorian RSPCA to give an opinion. This supported the WWF contention. The matter was then drawn to the attention of the Bureau of Animal Health.
The Victorian Government subsequently called a meeting in Melbourne, chaired by a representative of the Victorian administration, at which were: RSPCA, Victorian Department of Agriculture, WWF, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), the Australian National Line, exporters in the trade and the Bureau of Animal Health.
The discussion was wide ranging over classes of animals to be exported, their husbandry and all matters pertaining to their export.
Agreement was reached that the stalls as a method of transportation were acceptable to all parties under proper safeguards which would be worked out in association with the Animal Welfare Committee of the AVA. The WWF would accept a ruling from the RSPCA on this matter.
However, the consignment in April 1980 did not conform to the conditions which were agreed at the Melbourne meeting.
As a result, the Commonwealth Government, on 17 April 1980, brought all horse exports under the more stringent controls of the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations.
In addition, the Commonwealth drew up new Standards for Carriage of Horses by Sea, which impose stringent conditions. These complement the requirements of both the Navigation (Deck Cargo and Livestock) Regulations, and the Quarantine (Animals) Regulations.
The conditions of these Standards lay down requirements for the selection of horses which can be shipped; the positioning of them on board ship (i.e., stallions to be separated from all other horses); the necessary restraints and footholds to be provided for each horse; and the number of spare stalls to be provided to allow easy access to each horse by a veterinary officer.
They set out requirements for preconditioning of horses at an assembly point prior to embarkation, which includes several veterinary inspections at various stages to monitor each horse ‘s acceptance of being progressively brought on to the feeding regime which will be followed on board ship.
They require a Government veterinary inspection before the horses leave the assembly point for embarkation, and a further Government veterinary inspection at shipside before loading.
Should any horse not meet all these required conditions, it will not be allowed to be exported.
A veterinarian must accompany each shipment of horses for slaughter, and each ship must be equipped with an adequate supply of pharmaceutical drugs and veterinary equipment, and adequate feeding and watering facilities, properly stored and sufficient for any possible delays at sea.
The ‘ Farid Fares’ Incident
The loss at sea of this vessel and the deaths of a crew member and the 40,000 sheep on board was, of course, most tragic.
It has to be realised, however, that such accidents are possible, just as they are with transport on land. Rail and road accidents, accompanied by loss of human and animal life are all too frequent.
But the live sheep export trade has an extremely good record. It has grown progressively over the last 10 years. Since 1970-71 Australia has exported over 24 million live sheep. The current annual export rate is just over 5 million, and the value of the trade in 1 978-79 was over $ 1 24 million.
Losses on board ship over the last ten years have averaged less than three per cent overall. Sheep on board ship also frequently gain weight and condition.
Unavoidable losses on farms in Australia also need to be considered. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has estimated that death losses of sheep and lambs on farms in Australia, excluding deaths between birth and lamb marking have been: 1973-74, 9.5 million; 1974-75, 11.2 million; 1975-76, 13.6 million; 1976-77, 14.6 million; 1977-78, 9.0 million; 1978-79, 8.9 million. (Statistics are variable owing to seasons, climatic conditions and disasters such as bushfires and floods. )
By way of further comparison, in one day- 12 February 1977- as a result of bushfires in the Western District of Victoria, the actual count of livestock deaths was: 1 97,000 sheep and 3,365 cattle burned to death.
Live Sheep Exports and Employment of Meatworkers
Over the last year there has been a fall-off in employment of meatworkers throughout Australia. This has been caused by a 30 per cent decline in cattle slaughterings and, just recently, by a reduction in the number of sheep and lambs being slaughtered.
The decline in cattle slaughterings is the result of a rundown in the herd during the beef depression. Farmers are now retaining stock for rebuilding of beef enterprises. The fall-off in sheep slaughterings is a normal seasonal development, although, because of the dry conditions, the decline has occurred a little later this year.
Sheep numbers in Australia dropped from 180 million in 1970 to 131 million in 1978. The main reason for this fall was the reduction in number of ewes in the flock. Live sheep exports are almost entirely wethers. The reduction in the number of ewes was caused by the relative unprofitability of woolgrowing in the early 1970s and poor lambings in more recent years.
Sheep numbers are now rising because of increased profitability. As the flock is maintained and rebuilt, the number of sheep available for slaughter will be maintained at around this year’s levels, which are expected to be higher than for some years.
Fluctuations of livestock numbers, of slaughterings, and consequently of employment in meatworks, have long been a feature of this industry. For example, between 1973 and 1974, the Australian sheep kill fell by 16.4 million- entirely as a result of economic and seasonal influence. Live sheep exports then were negligible, but the fall was equivalent to three times the number of live sheep being exported today.
Employment in meatworks is characteristically unstable. As a consequence, many workers in the industry are employed on daily or piecework rates under awards which provide loadings to compensate for intermittent employment.
The sheep that are exported are predominantly fouryearold Merino wethers. They command a significantly higher price through this trade than they would if they were slaughtered locally. There is little demand for older mutton in Australia, or the Middle Eastern countries. Demand for mutton in our traditional major market, Japan, is currently not strong.
Middle Eastern countries accept these animals live because their meat can be sold fresh killed. It is only for this reason that they will take older wethers, as the ideal requirement for their markets is light, lean lamb. They have shown no inclination to take old mutton in frozen carcass form.
The Bureau of Agricultural Economics carried out an examination of employment implications of the live sheep export trade in 1978. It found that although job opportunities were declining, for reasons already mentioned, very few jobs were being lost in abattoirs as a result of live sheep exports.
By contrast, a significant number of other jobs was being created because of the export of live sheep. These included employment on farms, in country towns, and in ancillary services such as shearing sheep for export, providing veterinary services, handling and yarding of sheep and loading them on to overseas vessels. Provision of feed for the journey also generated jobs.
Another point of interest is that while the live sheep trade to the Middle East arose from a strong preference in those countries for fresh killed meat, the trade has also helped to develop a steadily increasing demand for frozen lamb, hogget and young mutton from Australia.
It can therefore be expected that eventually the carcass trade will replace much of the live sheep trade.
Additionally, the high level of shipments of live sheep in recent years has siphoned off a large portion of older wethers from the Australian flock. This is enabling producers to run a higher proportion of ewes, which should result in increasing Australia’s capacity to supply carcass meat in the future, and so improve job opportunities for meatworkers.
The Commonwealth Government supports the continuation of exports of livestock for slaughter, provided all reasonable steps are taken to protect animals from suffering and undue stress. The Government will continue to enforce regulations and vary them as necessary to ensure that these requirements are met.
It should also be noted that the great majority of exporters do not need to be coerced by regulations to provide adequate care for the animals which they consign abroad. Most have a genuine concern and realise that it is in their interest to ensure that their stock arrives at its destination in good condition.
There has recently been a fall-off in employment of meatworkers in the slaughtering industry. But this has been caused by changes in the total livestock availability and by normal slaughter patterns, rather than by the export of live sheep.
Furthermore, the live sheep trade is encouraging rebuilding of sheep flocks in Australia. A higher proportion of ewes is being retained and mated, which will result in more sheep being available for slaughter in the future.
-I refer the Prime Minister to his recent statements on financial aid for schools or what we might call state aid, and in particular to the challenge in the High Court under section 1 16 of the Constitution in the case known as the Defence of Government Schools case. Why has the Prime Minister been making those statements at this time, particularly why has he been making comments about a referendum, when the outcome of the case, it has been generally accepted, will not be known for some months? Has the Prime Minister discussed either the outcome of the case or when the decision is likely to be handed down with any member of the High Court?
– I have not discussed this case with any members of any court. Like all litigants, the Commonwealth hopes that it will win the case. Quite clearly there is concern amongst a number of schools in the Australian community- I am sure that the honourable member is well aware of thatbecause if the Commonwealth is not successful as a litigant there will be an immediate funding problem for a number of schools. The nature of that problem might well depend upon the precise nature of any judgment that is handed down. It does not serve the purpose of the independent school system just to assume that matters will be resolved in a way that suits it and suits the Government’s policy. Therefore, I felt that there was a need for people in the independent school system and, for that matter, for others to know that the Government believes that its policies are right. They are policies, as I understand it, that are broadly supported by all governments and all political parties in Australia. There could be some differences about the nature and detail of funding of independent schools, but the broad thrust of policy in support of the funding of independent schools is something which I think all governments and all political parties in Australia now support. That is a great mark forward.
I also make the point that if a referendum were pursued one would hope that that would be done as a last resort. Again, that would depend upon the nature of any judgment. If it is unfavourable, there may be ways, through co-operation or even changes in the law, to enable the policy to be pursued. I think those responsible for independent schools have an entitlement to know that this Government believes that the policies of support for independent schools are right, that those policies will be maintained and that, if it is necessary to achieve a change in the Constitution to continue that situation, we will pursue it. I would presume that the referendum on those lines would receive support from all political parties. I would therefore believe that it would be passed if it had to be. A referendum would be only a last resort measure. If there are other ways of achieving a continuation of government policies, then they can be followed.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister for Industrial Relations, is supplementary to the question asked by the Leader of the Opposition. Is the Minister aware that under section 22 (3) of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, which was introduced by my friend, Mr Phillip Lynch, and which made memorable changes to conciliation and arbitration proceedings, the President of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission has the right to make up the form and structure of the various benches of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and has the right also to appoint members to the various sections of it, whether they happen to be Full Bench, arbitration or conciliation functions? Is he also aware that, due to the boilermakers case, under no circumstances can a member of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission be considered a justice because under our Constitution there is a division of responsibility between the judiciary and an organisation created by an Act of Parliament? In other words, the Commission cannot exercise judicial functions. Lastly, is the Minister aware of the criticism which has been directed at Mr Justice Staples for his decision in the recent wool dispute and the very severe criticism which was directed at him because of what he said in a speech in Adelaide?
– I am aware of the amendments to which the right honourable member has referred and which leave the allocation of responsibilities within the Commission, amongst deputy presidents and commissioners, entirely within the hands of the President. That point was reinforced today by a letter in one of the daily newspapers by Mr Justice Gallagher. I seek leave to incorporate that letter in Hansard.
The letter read as follows-
Sir, having read with interest and concern the conflicting comments made by your correspondents in relation to Mr Justice Staples, it may be of some relevance for me to state that, for the 13 years I held office as a deputy president, the allocation to particular industries of members of the Arbitration Commission (including deputy presidents) and the constitution of Full Benches were regarded as functions exclusively for the determination of the President.
In 1972 (after my retirement) the well-established practice was formalised. The Parliament inserted into the Conciliation and Arbitration Act two sections, one of which provided that: ‘The members of the Commission to constitute a Full Bench shall be determined by the President’. Section 17 (3). The other provided in pan that: ‘The President may assign an industry or a group of industries to a panel of members of the Commission consisting of a presidential member and at least one Commissioner . . .’ (Section 23).
The legislation is silent as to the removal from the panel of a member once he has been appointed. Section 33 (4) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (as amended) provides, in effect, that a power to appoint includes a power to remove, and this general provision would be available to the President.
As a matter of long-standing practice and more importantly still, since 1972, as a matter of statutory law, Sir John Moore was entitled to take Mr Justice Staples ola panel and to hold him available for Full Bench work (which, incidentally, is not confined to the hearing of appeals. It also covers, inter alia, references on matters of great public importance such as national wages cases and determination of standard hours).
In the exercise of his unfettered discretion, the President formed a belief that one of his colleagues was suitable for Full Bench work rather than for panel duties. He acted accordingly. In no way did his action amount to a demotion. Nor was it an encroachment upon the independence which his colleague was entitled to possess.
Independence is, however, to be exercised within the framework of the law. This, in broader terms, is another way of stating that a member of the Commission is bound to obey statutory requirements, decisions of superior courts (such as that of the High Court in the ‘Boilermakers’ Case’) and rulings of general application enunciated by a Full Bench of the Commission such as the guidelines for wage indexation.
Without doubt, the President had a specific reason for his action in respect of Mr Justice Staples. But as has been already said, his discretion was unfettered. And whatever explanation he may have given privately to His Honour, public disclosure would be ill-advised and would constitute a dangerous precedent.
Sir John Moore is to be presumed as having acted rightly. The action which he has taken should be supported.
– I thank the House. Mr Justice Gallagher reinforces the points which have been made by the right honourable member for Lowe. The right honourable member is correct also in drawing attention to the effects of the boilermakers case which is a watershed in Australian industrial relations. I have also had my attention drawn to a letter which has subsequently become public property and which was signed by, I think, eight members of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, commenting on the speech made by Mr Justice Staples in Adelaide in which he criticised his fellow members of the Bench.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Health. Three weeks ago he indicated that he would be making a statement in relation to the alleged health problems arising out of the nuclear tests at Maralinga in the 1950s. He also indicated that the responsibility for those health problems lay with other Ministers as well. Have the Minister and his colleagues sorted out their responsibilities yet? If so, is he now able to respond to the request for an inquiry into the health problems arising from fall-out from these tests?
– I do not recall saying that I would respond on behalf of the Government. I did say that the responsibility rested with other Ministers. However, there has been a meeting of departments interested in this matter. A report is being prepared. It will shortly be considered by the Government. As soon as it has been considered a statement will be made.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Defence. I refer to scurrilous attempts to lure unsuspecting young people to believe that a compulsory call-up has been implemented by the Australian Army. Will all possible steps be taken to investigate this matter thoroughly in view of the appearance of fraudulent notices through the mail at Grafton in my electorate notifying certain persons to appear for medical examination at a fictitious addressthe fourth floor, 20 George Street, Sydney- at 9 a.m. tomorrow and threatening a $1,000 fine for failure to comply? Will the fullest possible inquiry be made into the matter in an endeavour to expose the motive and intent of the person or persons responsible for this elaborate hoax?
-My attention has been drawn to the matter to which the honourable gentleman referred. I can understand the measure of anxiety and distress at the letters which are allegedly being circulated in the honourable gentleman ‘s electorate. I cannot say at the moment whether the letters are being circulated elsewhere. I will read to the House what purports to be a copy of one letter. It reads as follows:
I do hereby give you notice that you are requested to appear before an Armed Forces of Australia medical officer for a physical and medical examination at the above address.
Return railway tickets will be forwarded to you within the next ten ( 10) days, giving you ample time to make the preparations necessary for your stay in Sydney. You will be required to stay in Sydney for two (2) days so as to complete all necessary tests.
Failure to comply with the above mentioned regulations will automatically impost a fine -
It is a pity that the letter is not grammatical- of $1,000.00 or a sentence under the Armed Forces of Australia Court Hearing Committee.
I can understand the anxiety which would be felt by young men receiving that letter. The Prime Minister and I have stated clearly the Government’s policy on this matter. If there is to be any change in that policy, appropriately it will be given to the Parliament and to the people of Australia.
– It has to be legislated.
– I am indebted to my honourable friend for assisting me on the road. I do view the matter seriously because I can understand the sense of anxiety in so many homes. As a consequence, I have referred the matter to the Minister for Administrative Services for appropriate police inquiry.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Defence, concerns the welfare of members of the Australian defence forces serving overseas. Is the Minister aware that concessional postal charges no longer apply for mail posted by the families of members of the Australian defence forces serving outside Australia? Is the Minister aware that mail from home is important to all servicemen, particularly as a morale booster? Is the Minister aware that there is discontent, with a consequent loss of morale, in the Australian defence forces, particularly in the Royal Australian Navy, due to the high postal rates presently charged for mail addressed to members of the Australian defence forces serving overseas? Is the Minister also aware that this loss of morale also affects the mothers, fathers, wives and children of servicemen and particularly applies to the relatives of members of the Royal Australian Navy who recently took part in the naval exercise Rimpac 80 and also to Army personnel who were in Zimbabwe and other overseas posts? Finally, will the Minister confer with his colleague, the Minister for Post and Telecommunications, and press for the reintroduction of the concessional postal rate for the families of members of the Australian defence forces serving outside Australia?
– I answered a similar question which was put to me in this House almost a fortnight ago by the honourable member for Fraser. I vouchsafed on that occasion that I view the matter as one of substance. I acknowledge again the substance which rests in the honourable gentleman’s question. On the previous occasion I indicated that the matter was one of Government policy- not purely of ministerial policybut I undertook to refer it to the Government. That undertaking still stands. I hope, in the very near future, to do just that.
35-HOUR WORKING WEEK
-I ask the Prime Minister: What would be the effect of a shorter working week on employment? Would more jobs be created if shorter hours were worked? Do proposals for a 35-hour working week provide incentives for higher levels of employment, protection against technological change and a more efficient base for industry in Australia?
-Proposals for a 35-hour working week can only be damaging in the present economic circumstances. If the proponents of a 35-hour week were proposing that the hourly rate for work remain the same and that there should be no change in effective wage rates and costs for industry, then their claim that more jobs could be created would perhaps have some credibility. Quite plainly, however, a 35-hour working week would lead to higher real wage costs in one of two ways. Either people would still work a 40-hour week and would get additional overtime for the last five hours or they would work only 35 hours a week. They are not suggesting that they be paid a significant proportion less. Therefore effective wage rates on an hourly basis would be increased and therefore costs to firms and industry would be increased. On that basis there would be less employment and not more employment as a result of a 35-hour week.
Significant increases in costs in the Australian industry would damage our competitiveness. At the present time that would be particularly unfortunate because over the last year the volume of exports of Australian manufactures rose by about 30 per cent. That is a very creditable performance indeed. It is that which is starting to expand the employment base in Australia. Total employment in the 12 months to March grew by some 180,000. At the present time significant increases in wage rates would be bound to damage that prospect. It is a mark of the greatest possible selfishness that certain people who work at the present time and belong to a strong and powerful union are quite patently by this means seeking improved working conditions for themselves and higher real wages for themselves at the expense of those who are not in work. I believe that the Leader of the Opposition has a somewhat similar view. I welcome the fact that on this particular issue the House appears to be united on the impact that a 35-hour week would have on the prospects for Australian industry and on the continued recovery of the Australian economy.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister for Transport, refers to the Government’s boycott from 3 1 May this year on the use of Soviet-owned and Soviet-manned cruise vessels in Australian waters by Charter Travel Co. Since he has announced today that the Soviet-chartered and Soviet-controlled Greek vessel Rasa Sayang, manned by Greeks and Malays, is to continue to provide CTC cruises after 3 1 May, will he explain to the House precisely, in terms of the Government’s boycott on Soviet-controlled vessels, the difference between Soviet-owned, Soviet-manned and Sovietcontrolled vessels as in operation until 31 May and the Soviet-controlled, Soviet-chartered- the proceeds will go to the Soviet Union- vessel Rasa Sayang after 3 1 May?
– Any action taken against other than Soviet vessels chartered by Charter Travel Co. would need and does need to take into account our relations with other countries and our international obligations. Since the Rasa Sayang is a Greek vessel- not a Soviet vesseland is manned by a Greek crew and Malaysian stewards, it is in a far different category to Soviet cruise vessels that are manned by Soviet crews. The Soviet vessels will have their operations suspended as from 3 1 May. But to take an action against a Greek-owned vessel and a Greek crew would be to take an action against people of another nationality and a nation with which we have very cordial relationships.
-The Minister for Health will be aware that I have a long-standing interest in the question of allowing the importation of horses for the first international horse race to be held in Melbourne on Australia Day, 26 January 1981, for stake money of Sim. Can the Minister confirm recent media reports that he has approved arrangements for the importation of horses from a number of countries for the world ‘s greatest racing event?
– I am aware of the honourable member’s long-standing interest in this sporting event. He has been to see me about it, in company with some of his colleagues, on a number of occasions. In fact, a degree of investigation of the matters raised by the honourable member has taken place. I can confirm that I have given in principle approval to the importation of horses for this event. But I would like to make it absolutely clear to the House that this approval does not involve any relaxation of Australia’s strict quarantine regulations. Before the horse race becomes an actuality we will have to be in contact with the quarantine authorities and governments of the countries whence these horses will come and, in consultation with our New Zealand neighbours, make sure that the requirements that we will lay down are acceptable to them. If those requirements cannot be met by the countries from which the horses will come, unfortunately the race will not be able to go on. But I hope that we will be able to overcome the problems. I stress again that there will be no relaxation of quarantine regulations.
-The Prime Minister will recall, having just heard it, the Minister for Transport’s espousal of Government principle in relation to the Soviets’ chartering of shipping services from a third country to provide cruise shipping services from Australia; that is, the Government justifies the Soviets’ chartering of agents to provide those services because of the Government’s keenness to preserve established relations with a third country. Does the Prime Minister recognise that an extension of this exact principle would justify the Soviets’ obtaining of Australian wheat through a third country such as Greece? Would the Government endorse this practice? If not, how does the Government distinguish between this sort of practice and the practice that has justified -
– Why wheat?
– Wheat or other commodities which might be banned. How does the Government justify the chartering of a Greek agent to supply shipping services from Russia which are supposed to be prohibited?
-Quite obviously the use of a third country in that way would not cause a justification of sales of wheat that would in other cases have been embargoed. The Government’s actions in relation to the Soviet Union and the embargoes that were placed on exchanges and business contacts with the Soviet Union were quite specific and quite detailed, referring to certain circumstances. They involved r scientific and cultural exchanges, certain fishing proposals, restrictions on grain sales and a number of other matters which were announced with complete precision.
Neither the United States nor any country of Europe- the United Kingdom, Germany, France or any other country- has banned all commercial contacts with the Soviet Union, and it has not been suggested that any should do so. Clearly, therefore, with all these countries, some commercial and trading contacts continue. Against that background, it would be quite fruitless and pointless for Australia to embark on actions which are not supported in common by other countries that are opposing Soviet aggressions. What we have done has been to act with total consistency with other countries and to take the same sort of action as other countries have taken in opposing the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. One of the great dilemmas of the last three months is how the Leader of the Opposition totally fails to understand that.
-Has the Prime Minister noted the range of missiles, aircraft and other weaponry stationed in Afghanistan by the Soviets over the past eight weeks? Has this presence led him to adopt the view that the Russian invasion was undertaken merely to unite Moslems in Afghanistan and southern Russia and that it has no other strategic significance?
– I do not know that I have ever completely shared the view that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was merely to unite Moslems in the Soviet Union and in areas bordering it. I have pointed out on a number of occasions that, whatever the motives of the
Soviet Union might have been in moving into Afghanistan, it is the consequences of its being there which represent the important factor in this equation. People can argue for a long time as to whether they regard the moves as being purely defensive and as seeking to unite the Moslem movement. They certainly could not do that because many Moslems are still outside the area and to unite the Moslem movement the invasion would have to go much further. But the motivation is not really the point. We all recognise, and all the advice to this Government recognises, that, once the Soviets have moved forward, there they intend to stay; that, once they have moved forward, opportunities can be created by their own subversion in adjoining places, or opportunities can be opened up because of instability in adjoining places. The Soviet Union, having the nature that it has, is prone to take advantage of those opportunities when and if they occur.
It is not a question of something happening in three months or six months. The Soviets have shown very plainly that they are a patient people, quite prepared to wait five years or ten years, if it so suits them, to create or take advantage of further opportunities. Everything that Europe, North America, Australia and many other countries have done has indicated that around the world there is a very real concern at the invasion and what it could ultimately lead to. But the suggestion that the Soviet move into Afghanistan was purely a defensive one, put simply and by itself, I think is the height of total absurdity.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Is he aware from Press statements that the Chairman of the Australian Wool Corporation, Mr David Asimus, has cancelled his proposed trip to Moscow? Might I say that another prominent Australian member of the delegation has also declined to go because, as he is quoted as saying: ‘It would not look good’. In view of the Government’s hard line attitude to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, could the proposed mission to Russia embarrass it? Also, has the Government’s anxiety concerning the $190m wool cheque of last year put a question mark on this year’s wool cheque? With this in mind, is the Prime Minister giving consideration to reviewing the guidelines which apply to official exchanges between the two countries?
-As I understand it, the Chairman of the Australian Wool Corporation was to go to the Soviet Union in his capacity as Chairman of the International Wool Secretariat, but I believe his decision not to go to be entirely appropriate in all the circumstances. Clearly, I am glad that that step has been taken. I believe that if he had gone it would have been inappropriate and contrary to the spirit of the Government ‘s policy.
-My question is directed to the Treasurer. What progress has he made in respect of the presentation of a new section 260 of the Income Tax Assessment Act? Further, will the Government continue to endeavour to prevent artificial devices from being used to evade tax?
– Honourable members will be aware that some time last year I said that the Government would try to rewrite section 260, the anti-avoidance section, of the Income Tax Assessment Act in an effective fashion. As a result, a draft of a new section was prepared by Parliamentary Counsel. The draft was submitted to private counsel in both Melbourne and Sydney and detailed and lengthy opinions thereon were obtained. In turn, those opinions have been the subject of assessment by the Commissioner of Taxation and Parliamentary Counsel. A further draft will be produced. It will be sent to counsel and the results of that exercise will be examined by the Government’s recently established advisory committee on taxation. Then and only then will a draft of any proposed section be exposed for public examination.
Honourable members may well think that this is a lengthy procedure. However, I believe that honourable members on both sides who are aware of the complexities of taxation legislation will recognise that, unless this type of procedure is followed and proper time is taken, we will not necessarily get the result that is desired. What is desired is a section which has a twofold effect so that, firstly, it is effective in a general sense in striking down artificial arrangements and, secondly, it is not drawn in such a fashion as to cast a pall over legitimate commercial transactions. I make it plain to the House that, whilst this Government’s record and desires in this area are second to none, we do not intend to produce general amendments to the Income Tax Assessment Act which have the effect of casting unnecessary inhibitions on normal commercial transactions which legitimately take advantage of opportunities available for the arrangement of affairs.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs concerned that the Western Australian and Queensland Premiers are refusing to approve the transfer of pastoral leases in those States to the Aboriginal Land Fund Commission, now of course to become the Aboriginal Development Commission? What guarantee do we have that the Aboriginal Development Commission will be any more successful in acquiring pastoral leases for Aboriginals than the now defunct Aboriginal Land Fund Commission? In view of the Prime Minister’s professed concern for black rights in foreign lands, when will members of the Government stand up for the rights of Austraiian Aboriginals against the belligerence and racism of their State colleagues?
– The Commonwealth is concerned to see in any situation in which it provides funds through the Aboriginal Land Fund Commission or the Aboriginal Development Commission, when it is established, that those funds are used for the purchase of properties, either freehold or leasehold, in the States and that those purchases are completed without discrimination against Aboriginals or Aboriginal communities because of their aboriginality. When I was Minister for Aboriginal Affairs a number of purchases of properties were made in both Queensland and Western Australia. I am aware that my colleague, the present Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, through the appropriate authorities of the Commonwealth, is seeking to make purchases, particularly in Western Australia. I also understand that he is vigorously pursuing those purchases in the interests of those Aboriginal communities. I will obtain for the honourable member the latest information on my colleague ‘s efforts in that regard. I can assure the House that my colleague will be pressing the case of the Aboriginals as strongly as possible. The Commonwealth would certainly hope and expect that no State government would discriminate against Aboriginals or Aboriginal communities, with regard to the acquisition of land, because of their aboriginality.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs. I refer to a mass meeting on Sunday in Brisbane of fuel station owners who called on the Federal Government to implement the recommendations of the Fife report. What sympathy does the Government have with that call? To what stage have negotiations developed for the implementation of some of the recommendations of that report?
-The Government . has indicated on a number of occasions its interest in and concern with this position. I can say to the honourable member, because of the expression which he used and which I have read elsewhere, that this matter concerns not a report but a statement by my colleague. The present position is that the Cabinet has before it a number of proposals to which it is giving very close consideration. I will certainly be announcing the policy of the Government as soon as we can come to a conclusion about those proposals. I am aware of the interest of many members of the House in the matter, of representations by various groups representing dealers and, indeed, of the views of others, including oil companies, on the complex question of oil marketing.
I conclude by reminding the honourable member that the Government asked the Trade Practices Commission to carry out a detailed examination to collate facts because the situation varies very much between dealers and companies and between regions within Australia. It is a complex matter which the Government certainly has under close and urgent examination.
-My question is addressed to the Minister for Education. I refer to the Aboriginal activist, Bobbi Sykes, who has made an unsuccessful application for an overseas study award to enable ner to take up an offer from Harvard University to study for a master’s degree in education. Has the Minister yet considered my request of 22 April to review sympathetically the negative decision taken on this application, in view of the importance which Aboriginal people and all Australians would attach to her enrolment at and graduation from Harvard University?
– I am aware of the matter that has been raised by the honourable member. Indeed, I have received representations from him and from a number of other interested persons. When this matter was first brought to my attention I felt some sympathy for the applicant and I looked at the situation to see whether something could be done. I think it needs to be stated that, whilst this award scheme is administered by the Department of Education, a national selection committee sifts the applications and interviews the applicants each year. This committee, which consists of a representative of the Department of Education, a representative of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and two representatives of the Aboriginal community, one drawn from the National Aboriginal Conference and the other from the National Aboriginal Education Committee, actually makes the recommendations.
A large number of applications is received each year and as a result, of course, the competition is extremely keen. Each year the number of awards is limited to ten. Two of these awards may be made to groups. The large number of applications and the fact that the number of awards is limited to ten provide a very competitive environment. As a result of the representations that have been made to me, I am reviewing the procedures that have been followed, to ensure that they have been carried out in a proper way. I am also looking at the matter to see whether something can be done to assist this particular applicant. I also point out that my review will include a discussion with the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Is it a fact that the Government announced last week the appointment of a former National Country Party Minister, Mr Holten, as Administrator of Christmas Island? Is Mr Holten the eighth Liberal or National Country Party politician to receive a government appointment since the Prime Minister came to office? Were the other appointees Mr John England, Sir Nigel Bowen, Sir David Fairbairn, Sir Gordon Freeth, Sir Robert Cotton, Mr Peter Coleman and former Senator J. J. Webster? Finally, can the Prime Minister explain how these appointments square with his 1975 campaign promise: ‘There 11 be no more jobs for the boys’?
-The honourable gentleman must have watched the Nationwide program last night. Nationwide was inaccurate, as it often is. The honourable gentleman is just as inaccurate. The honourable gentleman should know quite well, and anyone who has looked carefully at what I have said should know quite well, that our opposition was to political appointments to positions of permanency within the Commonwealth Public Service, specifically heads of departments, whereby there was an obligation to keep such people in employment for all time. Three members out of Mr Whitlam ‘s private office were appointed as heads of departments- permanent appointments, political appointments, which other governments would then need to keep. We were very concerned about the politicisation of the Public Service as such, which must maintain its capacity to serve any government impartially and fairly, with dedication and with commitment.
– Where did Ellicott come from?
-Order! The honourable member for Newcastle will remain silent.
-The honourable gentlemen are noisy, Mr Speaker, because they do not like the facts. We therefore introduced legislation to prevent that kind of politicisation of the Commonwealth Public Service and a person now can get permanency in that Service only if he is recommended for appointment by a committee of the Public Service itself. If a government wishes to make some other appointment, and that can be done for a fixed term or whatever, and if that government then loses office, an incoming government has no commitment to that person whatsoever; he would then go back to wherever he came from or go to wherever he wanted to go. He would not have to stay as head of a department, foisting his political views on to a subsequent government. That, I think, was a very proper amendment to the Public Service Act, to protect the apolitical nature of the Public Service.
We have never been opposed to appointments being made for a term, for a period on merit outside the political environment in terms of the Public Service as such. Such appointments have been made by the honourable gentleman’s party during the rare occasions it has been in office. They have been made by this Government and they will continue to be made by this Government because many people pass through this Parliament and through the experience they gain here they can provide a great capacity in certain jobs. The experience they get in the Parliament is useful in many spheres of life and they should not be denied an opportunity for appointments of the kind I have mentioned, but outside the Public Service.
If we wished to make an appointment of a political nature to the Commonwealth Public Service, that would have to be done on the basis of a fixed term appointment, without permanency and without any obligation on some subsequent government to keep that person in employment. There is all the difference in the world between that kind of approach to these matters and the kind of approach adopted by the party of the honourable gentleman which sought quite blatantly to politicise the Public Service and to put its own people in positions of permanency within the Public Service itself.
-On 22 April I informed all honourable members of a vote to be taken on the proposal that an all-party committee of the House should be established to report whether the Westminster convention concerning the Speaker could be adopted, the method of doing so and when the system should commence. Today the Clerk sent all honourable members a ballot paper on the question. The ballot paper must be returned to the Clerk by 6 p.m. on Thursday next, 15 May 1980.
– For the information of honourable members I present a report by the Australian Science and Technology Council entitled ‘Marine Sciences and Technologies in Australia, Priorities for Additional Research and Development 1980-81’.
– For the information of honourable members I present the resolutions of the 108th meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council 1980.
– Pursuant to section 58 of the Trade Union Training Authority Act 1975 I present the first report of the reconstituted authority together with financial statements for the eleven month period to 30 June 1979.
-Pursuant to section 10 of the International Monetary Agreements Act 1947 I present the annual report of the International Monetary Agreements Act 1978-79.
– For the information of honourable members I present a report of the Aboriginal Land Commissioner on the Uluru and Lake Amadeus /Luritja land claim. Honourable members will recall that I tabled an interim version of the report on 1 1 October 1979.
– For the information of honourable members I present the report of the Industries Assistance Commission on cast alloy steel parts for crushing or grinding machinesshort term assistance.
– Pursuant to section 1 5 of the Housing Assistance Act 1978 I present the annual report on the operation of that Act for 1978-79.
– Pursuant to section 53 of the Home Savings Grant Act 1976 I present the annual report on the operation of that Act for 1978-79.
Assent to the following Bills reported:
Income Tax Laws Amendment Bill 1980. Pig Meat Promotion Amendment Bill 1 980. Pipeline Construction (Dalton to Canberra) Bill 1980. Income Tax (Rates) Amendment Bill 1980. Income Tax (International Agreements) Amendment Bill 1980.
Income Tax Assesment Amendment Bill 1 980.
Local Government (Personal Income Tax Sharing)
Amendment Bill 1980. States (Personal Income Tax Sharing) Amendment Bill
Air Navigation Amendment Bill 1980. Australian National Airlines Amendment Bill 1 980. Qantas Airways Ltd (Loan Guarantee) Bill 1980. Airline Equipment (Loan Guarantee) Bill 1980. Bounty (Polyester-Cotton Yarn) Amendment Bill 1980. Bounty (Rotary Cultivators) Amendment Bill 1 980. Bounty (Drilling Bits) Bill 1 980.
-On behalf of the Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation I present the report of the Committee on the Management of the Australian Coastal Zone, together with copies of extracts of minutes of proceedings and the transcript of evidence.
Ordered that the report be printed.
-I seek leave of the House to make a short statement in connection with the report.
-The report which has just been tabled is the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation in the Thirty-first Parliament. The report deals with management of the Australian coastal zone with particular reference to its alternative uses, to Commonwealth government owned and controlled property and to the development of a coordinated approach.
At the outset I would like to state that, contrary to a widely held belief, the terms ‘coastal management’ and ‘beach protection’ are not interchangeable. Beach protection and associated engineering works form only one part of the overall concept of coastal management. The Committee endorses the definition of coastal management proposed by the South Australian Coast Protection Board, namely, ‘A process of making decisions on use of the coast, having first studied the environment and its capabilities as well as the issues involved and alternative solutions to them, and having sought and considered the views of the public. It will generally involve guiding development and recreation to less sensitive areas, while restricting access and use in more fragile parts.’ The Committee believes that the objective of coastal management is to maintain and improve the usefulness to man of the coastal zone, both now and for future generations, in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally acceptable.
The coastal zone is a significant national asset providing wide-ranging and valuable resources, many areas of which are under threat of degradation either by natural processes or by man’s activities. At the commencement of the Inquiry the Committee sought to determine what coastal management policy, if any, existed at the Commonwealth level. The Committee wrote to the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and was advised that as State governments have prime carriage of coastal matters, formation of specific policy on coastal management has always been a State rather than a Commonwealth responsibility. The Committee outlines in the report the extensive Commonwealth involvement, both direct and indirect, in coastal management, and concludes that it is undeniably significant. While the control of coastal land use is the responsibility of the States, Commonwealth activities have a definite impact on coastal land use.
The Committee has examined the various approaches to coastal management adopted by the States. Although inadequate planning and management in the past have often led to degradation of this highly valued resource, all State governments have now recognised and are responding to the problems of management. There is considerable diversity in the approaches developed by the States, reflecting the differing issues, the differing philosophical bases of environmental management and the level of technical understanding at the time relevant legislation was passed. The Committee believes, as a general principle, that the considerable Commonwealth involvement in the coastal zone should be co-ordinated and guided by national policies and national goals.
Those arguing that coastal management, ispurely a State responsibility have pointed out the limitations placed by the Constitution on Commonwealth Government involvement in this area. The committee acknowledges that the formulation and implementation of coastal planning programs is a state responsibility but cannot ignore two very important considerations: Firstly, that the majority of State governments appearing before the committee called for greater Commonwealth involvement and asked that national policies and guidelines be developed; and secondly, that Commonwealth policy exists for the management of other natural resources, such as water, forests, minerals and fisheries, all of which are state responsibilities. The committee has recommended that the Commonwealth Government consult with the states to develop and promulgate national policies and objectives for the conservation and preservation of the Australian coastline.
I stress that the committee does not suggest that the Commonwealth usurp any existing State, functions, but rather that State, Territory and Commonwealth organisations each maintain an individual but defined and co-ordinated role, the contribution each government makes to a national program is a matter for negotiation. There is no single body at the Commonwealth level with specific responsibility for the coastal zone, and there are no formal mechanisms for co-ordinating coastal zone management. Throughout the inquiry the need for the introduction of a co-ordinating body to remedy this deficiency has been repeatedly stressed. The Commonwealth Government has clearly accepted co-ordinating roles in other resource areas, through ministerial councils. None of these existing councils is specifically concerned with coastal management. The committee believes that co-ordination and collaboration, cooperation and communication between agencies with important coastal functions would best be served by the establishment of a central body, and by the rationalisation of the existing fragmented approach.
The report recommends that the Commonwealth Government, jointly with the States, establish an Australian Coastal Management Council, with the express purpose of encouraging co-operation between agencies with functions relating to the coastal zone. The committee believes that only a central body, like this council, would be in a position to properly assesss the information requirements necessary to implement management policies, to establish research priorities, and then to co-ordinate related research programs. The committee gave considerable thought to the representation on this council, and has suggested a structure which it considers appropriate, given the responsibility of each level of government for areas in coastal zones. The committee has suggested that, of a council of 16 members, seven be representatives from State government, four from the Commonwealth, three from local government and two be non-government experts. The committee has further recommended that this council, ideally an administrative responsibility of the Department of National Development and Energy, be provided with a full time secretariat. The committee sees the secretariat as being ideally suited to perform a number of necessary, ongoing projects such as the establishment of a central register of information relating to the coastal zone. The committee was informed repeatedly through the inquiry that information on specific aspects of the coastal zone exists, but a majority of potential users is unaware of its existence. A central register would solve this problem, and would avoid duplication of effort and the resultant waste of precious resources. The committee believes that Commonwealth funding should be available to the States for coastal projects on the condition that the projects conform with national coastal policies. The committee has recommended that the Australian Coastal Management Council determine guidelines within which the States may develop programs and qualify for Commonwealth funds. The committee, of course, acknowledges that any allocation of funds would be determined on the basis of established priorities and with regard to Commonwealth financial policies.
The Committee has examined the approaches to coastal management in the United States and the United Kingdom and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recommendations on the principles concerning coastal management. The United Kingdom has a system of classifying certain stretches of coast of particular scenic quality as heritage coasts, thereby affording them special protection from development and recreational pressures. The United States congressional findings relating to that country’s Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 concluded that there is a national interest in the effective management, beneficial use, protection and development of the coastal zone and that the coastal zone is rich in a variety of natural, commercial, recreational, industrial and aesthetic resources of immediate and potential value to the present and future well-being of the nation. In fact, in his second Message on the Environment sent to Congress last August,. President Carter heartily endorsed the designation by conservation organisations of the year 1980 as the Year of the Coast.
The importance of the coast as one of Australia’s premier resources cannot be overemphasised. The coastline of this country is over 33,000 kilometres long and consists of a wide variety of habitats, some of which are environmentally significant in world terms. The unrelenting pressure generated by a growing population with an intense interest in coastal environments creates an increasing demand on shoreline land for motels, homes or holiday cottages as well as for industrial terminals, recreation and tourism, and fishing. The Committee believes that the recommendations contained in this report will go at least some of the way toward placing management of this priceless resource as high in our priorities as are other natural resources.
Mr Deputy Speaker, it is my considered view that the committees of this Parliament are well served by staff and that we have people of ability and dedication serving in these areas. I wish to pay tribute in general to the staff who service these committees and, in this instance, to the clerk of the Committee, Mr Cummins, and to Mrs Lyn Simons, who was directly responsible to the Committee for its briefings and, indeed, for sifting through the multitude of material that came in as a result of calling for submissions. In addition, Mr Peter Cullen acted as special adviser to the Committee. He is a lecturer on natural resources at the Canberra College of Advanced Education. I pay tribute to his input to this inquiry and report. All States at some stage co-operated with the Committee in the carrying out of the inquiry, and I pay tribute to the Premiers, the Ministers, and the staffs of various State departments that assisted. Of course, honourable members are aware that management of the coastal zone has a great significance for local government, and I would be remiss if I did not pay tribute to the elected representatives and staffs of the shire and city councils who so readily assisted the Committee during the inquiry. I commend the report to the House.
-by leave-I suspect that this report will probably go largely unnoticed by the Australian media. I hope that is not so, but I suspect that that is what will happen. It will be sad if it does occur because Australia faces a very serious problem along its coastline, and particularly along the eastern coast. Due to bad planning by a succession of State and local governments and our own refusal as a Commonwealth Government to take much interest in this matter, large areas of the Australian coastline are under serious threat. They are under threat in some cases because of erosion and in other cases because of bad planning, pollution and bad aesthetics; but, most importantly, they are under threat because of the problem of erosion that is occurring on very large sections of the Australian coast.
I was the person who put before the Committee the suggestion that this inquiry be held. In 1974-1 think it was late April or early May- a storm occurred in my own area of the central coast in the electorate of Robertson which was unlike anything I had ever seen in my life. The storm was quite incredible. Huge boats were thrown up onto the land and enormous damage was done. Great sections of the sand dune areas where homes had been built were undermined to the point where up to 60 or 70 houses along the shores of Terrigal and Wamberal looked as if they would tumble into the sea. Naturally, the people in those homes were panic stricken. I went to that area night after night and visited the people. I saw houses 40 or 50 feet above the ground, with half the house sticking out into the sea and a boiling cauldron of water beneath. People tried in their own way to stem the tide- it is an impossible task; it cannot be done- by putting down big concrete boxes and sandbags. Concrete pipes full of cement were tossed around like ping-pong balls. When the sea is raging and angry there is very little a human being can do about it. Of course, the problem was not one that could be resolved at that time. It was the result of a mistake that was made many years ago by previous councils and State governments which unwisely allowed development to occur along these very fragile sand dunes. The sand dunes have been built up over many years but, as I have said, they are very fragile and when a strong sea, coupled with king tides, hits the coastline in a storm it soon rips through the sand, particularly if man has upset the balance of the environment in that area.
What happened then was that people said: We must do something’- ‘we’ being the government, whether State, Federal or local government. Everybody did what he could but he could not do very much. The State Government gave some aid, but I cannot recall the amount. The local government authorities certainly tried to help by using bulldozers. Civilian Military Force units were sent in with bulldozers and similar equipment to help to build up the banks, but nothing more could be done. Actually no houses were washed into the sea. Eventually the seas subsided. Weeks and months passed and gradually people forgot what had happened. The sand began to return and people began saying: ‘It has not happened for 80 years and it will not happen for another 80 years’. Three years later it happened again and this time three houses fell into the sea. It is a question of luck as to whether three houses or 33 houses fall into the sea.
The point I would like to make is that when these disasters occur the people living in these areas demand that government’s spend literally millions of dollars on saving these areas. In some cases the amount of money required to save these areas is more than the property is worth, but it is the home of these people and they are not covered by insurance as it is an act of God or whatever. They have no recourse to compensation, insurance or anything like that and they expect governments to do something about it. In a sense, governments are responsible because they allow people to build in these sorts of areas. Most of us are not engineers or technicians. If the local government or State government says ‘It is all right for you to build here ‘, we assume that its engineers have decided that it is perfectly safe to build there. A few years later one finds one’s house falling into the sea and one feels angry and cheated. One then looks to the people who are responsible and says: ‘It is the Government’s fault’. This is one of the things that made me angry. This is something that ought not to be allowed to continue. I said earlier that in 1977-78 the whole act was repeated.
Australia is an island continent with a long coastline and with 85 per cent of its population living in the cities and in municipalities along that coastline. It is therefore critical that we develop a rational co-ordinated policy of coastal zone management to cope with increasing pressures on the resources of the coast and avoid the mistakes of the past. The Committee states in its report that it believes that the first step towards the resolution of coastal management problems is for the Commonwealth to formulate a policy of national interests and objectives and to establish a co-ordinated approach. It is important to note that the Committee felt that the Commonwealth must be involved with the States in the formulation of a national coastal management policy. The coastal zone is a national resource. To a large extent sections of it are controlled by each of the States. It is the Commonwealth’s duty to ensure that planning within each State is harmonious with national objectives.
When honourable members read the report by the Committee, as I hope they will do, they will realise that planning in the coastal zone varies markedly from State to State because of differences in the very definition of the coastal zone and the extent of matters covered by State legislation. Under legislation the different State governments have power over a coastal zone, ranging from 100 metres up from the shoreline in South Australia to 80 kilometres inland in New South Wales. The relevant Acts cover only Crown lands in Victoria, while in New South Wales and South Australia they cover both public and private land. There is no specific coastal management legislation in Western Australia and Tasmania. The Committee believes that any policies on coastal zone management should consider the coastal zone in its broadest sense. The Committee stated in its report:
The definition of the coastal zone must include estuaries and their associated wetlands, their catchments, shallow bays and shallow inshore water. All the environments are part of the one inter-connected system which includes not only the water and the seabed but also the associated flora and fauna.
The recommendation that the Commonwealth Government, jointly with the States, should establish a body called the Australian Coastal Management Council and provide it with a full time secretariat is the most important recommendation in this report. Such a Council, with a full time secretariat, would take an active role in coastal management by co-ordinating Commonwealth, State and local agencies in gathering information and setting guidelines for research. The Committee’s other recommendations deal with the functions of the Council or the secretariat. The Committee recommended that the Australian Coastal Management Council’s secretariat should establish a central register of data relating to the coastal zone and prepare and distribute a regular newsletter providing information on coastal zone research. The Committee recommended that the Coastal Management Council should determine guidelines for the allocation of Commonwealth funds to the States for programs in accord with national policies. It also recommended that the Australian Coastal Management Council, as a matter of priority, should establish criteria for the funding of research programs. These recommendations are specific and should be acted upon by the Government as soon as possible. They should not lie unheeded when proper coastal zone management is essential to the majority of Australians.
The definition of coastal management by the South Australian Coast Protection Board was accepted by the Committee and should be noted by honourable members. It is worth listening to. The definition reads:
In the past the development of the coastal zone has occurred in a very ad hoc manner, with resolutions, changes, clashes of interests and damage to the environment. Evidence of this is very noticeable along the coastline. I said earlier that in my own electorate houses have been built right onto the foredunes with subsequent erosion and undercutting from storms causing the houses to be damaged or destroyed. Damage to the dune system would have been avoided if housing were originally banned from such areas. Other examples of poor planning are the canal housing developments in Queensland and New South Wales, which replace valuable wetland habitat with bitumen and houses and the dead-end canals which inhibit the proper characteristic flushings of the estuaries and reduce their productivity. The report suggests that the canals have allowed for increased breeding areas for insects. Those honourable members who have been singing the praises recently of a well-known former mayor of the Gold Coast in Queensland should think again about the damage to that area through the efforts of that particular gentleman. Whilst he did a lot of things with great enthusiasm, I do not think he knew a great deal about the environment when he developed some of the real estate in that area of the Gold Coast.
– If you didn’t build on sand in Perth you wouldn’t build.
-Perhaps in Perth there are not the problems that are found on the east coast. I do not know whether storms cause the same amount of damage along the coastline. If one wants to build on the sand dunes in the coastal regions of New South Wales one might well finish up living in New Zealand because that is where half of those houses eventually will be found. In winding up, one of the things that the Opposition feels is absolutely essential- it will be my party’s policy at the next election- is that funds be made available for the repurchasing of land along this coastal zone region so that it can gradually be returned to public domain. We will suggest -
– You won’t have to worry about it, because you won’t be re-elected.
– I suggest that the honourable member should have a look at the latest public opinion polls. We will see who will be here after the election.
-The honourable member for Robertson will ignore interjections. I ask the honourable member for Kalgoorlie to remain silent.
– He wants to make a few speeches because they will be the last opportunities he will have. What we are proposing is that funds be made available by the national government on a dollar for dollar basis with State and local government to gradually purchase back these areas for the public domain. It is pointless for governments at any level to start spending large amounts of money to try to prop up these unstable areas. We have to do it in some areas. It has been done on the Gold Coast because vast amounts of real estate have been built in that area. We are faced with a very large capital outlay just to save what we have. In some of the areas where the homes are perhaps not so valuable and where not quite so much money is involved in real estate it would be wise for the Commonwealth now to start acquiring properties as they decay, as they grow old or as people decide to sell them. Bit by bit these areas can be bought. The houses, as they decay and as people leave them, can be pulled down and the coastline can thus be turned back into a public recreational area.
At the request of the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs (Mr Garland), I will keep my remarks brief. I hope that this coastal management inquiry will receive the close attention of the media. Unfortunately, we tend to ignore such matters as we tend to ignore everything else in this country. When we talk about these sorts of things now nobody wants to listen to us, but when those storms hit, when that coastal area is under attack and when each night we see pictures of literally hundreds of homes being threatened with being undercut and falling into the sea, then people will turn around “and say to the politicians: ‘Why didn’t you do something?’
It is always our fault. We have the opportunity when things are not critical, as at this moment, to implement a long term plan to gradually acquire this land and turn it back into public domain.
Bill presented by Mr Garland, and read a first time.
– I move:
The purpose of this Bill is to strengthen the boycott provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1 974 in the light of present conditions. It is the Government’s view that section 45D has had beneficial results and that now the provision should be taken further. The provisions of this Bill, and the Conciliation and Arbitration (Boycotts) Amendment Bill, which my colleague the Minister for Industrial Relations (Mr Street) will shortly introduce, are designed to assist in the resolution of the serious problems caused by certain conduct of trade unions and companies which interferes with competition and threatens persons’ freedom to trade.
The Trade Practices Act embodies the Government’s firm commitment to the promotion of free and fair competition in Australia. The Act is the legislative expression of the Government’s strong belief that effective competition is fundamental to the proper working of our enterprise system. Effective competition laws provide considerable benefits for the whole community. By ensuring the dynamic operation of the market place, an effective competition law promotes the most efficient allocation of resources to meet the needs and aspirations of the community and to satisfy consumer demands. Further, an effective competition law frees the system from unwarranted restrictions on freedom to trade imposed by those in the market with greater economic power, whether business or unions. This law also helps to ensure that the rewards offered by the enterprise system accrue to consumers and to those firms whose entrepreneurial qualities and efficiency best satisfy consumers’ demands rather than to those who would use their economic power to deny others an opportunity to compete. Australia has, in the Trade Practices Act, a most comprehensive and effective competition law. It has already resulted in considerable benefits both to consumers and to business and offers the prospect of continuing benefits as the process of competition continues. The Government strongly believes that effective competition law of universal application is to the benefit of the whole community. Consistent with this the Government considers it totally inappropriate that trade unions, which possess in some cases formidable economic power and bargaining strength, should be able to interfere with the competitive process and the individual ‘s freedom to trade.
The Swanson Committee, in its consideration of secondary boycotts, recommended that the law provide an effective avenue of recourse for the trader directly affected by allowing him access to an independent deliberative body. The Government decided that the most appropriate way to implement that recommendation was to give the affected trader rights of action in the Federal Court by the enactment of section 45d. Unfortunately, events have shown that the effectiveness of the Act’s prohibition of secondary boycott activity may be threatened by collusion between companies and unions. The Government was not only highly dissatisfied with the conduct of the union concerned in those events but also with that of the companies involved and made that clear on a number of occasions. The amendments the Government is putting forward now in the Trade Practices Bill are designed to provide a remedy for persons who are the victims of such conduct, and thus strengthen the Act.
In the first place the proposed amendments to the Trade Practices Act extend the operation of section 45d to prohibit secondary boycotts of non-corporate persons, that is, private individuals. The major amendment proposed is the insertion of a new section, 45e, which prohibits a person from agreeing with a union to cease to continue to deal with an individual or an individual company, or to continue to deal with an individual or individual company only on new conditions restricting that person’s freedom to trade. Existing provisions of the Act already prohibit agreements between competitors to boycott particular persons and to impose restrictions on freedom to trade. Events have demonstrated that trade unions also possess sufficient economic power to engage in this type of undesirable conduct. The Government believes, and it must be accepted by reasonable people, that it would be clearly inappropriate for the Trade Practices Act, which restricts abuses of power by companies, to allow the possibility of similar abuses by unions.
The package of proposals recognises, however, that disputes which give rise to sections 45d or 45e situations may escalate and require the processes of conciliation to effect a settlement. We have seen recently, however, that such a settlement, at least in its initial stages, paid scant regard to the rights of the company which had been the victim of the collusive conduct. Thus the package proposes that where there is a dispute which gives rise to a possible section 45d or section 45e action then that dispute may be transferred to the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission or to a court, tribunal or authority of a State or Territory.
The Bill provides that where proceedings are pending before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and the court has issued an injunction under sections 45d or 45e, a Minister or a party to the proceedings before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission may apply to the Court for a stay of the operation of the injunction. The Federal Court is empowered, on the making of such an application, to make such an order if it considers that to do so would be likely to facilitate a settlement of the dispute by conciliation and that under all the circumstances it would be just to do so. This provision is designed to enable the Federal Court to take into account the fact that proceedings are before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and thus to give the Commission the opportunity to resolve the dispute which has given rise to the injunction through the processes of conciliation. The proposed amendments therefore provide the opportunity for civil proceedings to be taken where an individual or a company’s business is being damaged while allowing for a cooling off process so that any dispute may be settled having regard to the rights of all the parties involved.
There is one further aspect of the legislation to which I would draw the attention of honourable members- that is, that the Bill envisages that conciliation jurisdiction may be exercised by a court, tribunal or authority of a State or Territory. The Bill provides that where such a court, tribunal or authority has, under the provisions of State or Territory law, equivalent powers to those of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission under the proposed new Division 5a of the Conciliation and Arbitration (Boycotts) Amendment Bill, that law may be prescribed by regulation as a law to which the relevant provisions of the Trade Practices Act apply. Upon such prescription State and Territorial courts, tribunals or authorities would be able to exercise their powers of conciliation.
Clause5 of the Bill deals with the new prohibited conduct. The clause also provides that the prohibition does not apply where the affected person has consented in writing to the agreement between the union and the supplier or acquirer. Clause 6 . permits the court to stay the operation of an injunction under section 45D or 45E to facilitate conciliation proceedings. Clause 8 provides that no individual can be subjected to a pecuniary penalty for contravention of section 45E. Clause 9 permits the Trade Practices Commission to grant authorisation of the prohibited conduct. Clause 10 provides for the same test on authorisation as for conduct prohibited by section 45D.
In summary, the objectives are these: First, the prevention of the abuse of power by both business and unions; second, the provision of possible conciliation, so that escalation of disputes can be avoided; and third, the continued promotion of competition and the protection of each person’s freedom of trade. The Government will be closely monitoring the application of this legislation, as it does in relation to the Trade Practices Act generally, to ensure that it has no unintended effect in the market place, particularly in relation to contractual relationships. I commend the Bill to the House.
Motion (by Mr Young) proposed:
That the debate be now adjourned.
-The question is:
That the debate be now adjourned and that the adjourned debate be made an Order of the Day for the next sitting.
Amendment (by Mr Young) proposed:
Omit ‘ the next sitting ‘, insert ‘ 11 December 1 980 ‘.
-Is the amendment seconded?
– I second the amendment.
That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr Young’s amendment) stand part of the question.
The House divided. (Mr Deputy Speaker-Mr P. C. Millar)
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill presented by Mr Street, and read a first time.
– I move:
The purpose of this Bill and that of its companion Bill, the Trade Practices Bill, is better to integrate the jurisdictions of the Federal Court of Australia and of the Australian Conciliation and
Arbitration Commission in disputes which involve contraventions or alleged contraventions of section 45d and of the proposed new section 45e of the Trade Practices Act which have industrial relations implications. As my colleague the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs (Mr Garland) has made clear in introducing the Trade Practices (Boycotts) Amendment Bill, these two pieces of legislation constitute an integrated package. The proposals reflect the Government’s concern over recent disputes involving the Trade Practices Act and which have, in addition to having been the subject of proceedings before the Federal Court, been before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Honourable members will be aware of the circumstances of the recent case involving Leon Laidely Pty Ltd which was the subject of a series of conferences before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission after Leon Laidely Pty Ltd had obtained an interim injunction from the Federal Court as a result of conduct engaged in by the New South Wales registered Transport Workers’ Union of Australia. The matter came before the Commission following industrial action involving workers employed under a Federal award.
Honourable members will recall statements made in the House indicating the Government’s concern at the outcome of the initial proceedings before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in which Leon Laidely Pty Ltd did not have the opportunity to express its views. It will also be recalled that following a request which I made to the President of the Commission, Sir John Moore, a subsequent hearing was held at which Mr Laidely and the business association of which he is a member, the Australian Petroleum Agents and Distributors Association, were represented- As a result of that hearing, discussions took place between the Transport Workers’ Union and the Australian Petroleum Agents and Distributors Association which resolved a number of issues associated with the distribution of fuel in New South Wales and, in particular, in an outcome which resulted in Leon Laidely Pty Ltd again being supplied by its previous suppliers. This arrangement was satisfactory to Leon Laidely Pty Ltd which indicated that action would be taken to withdraw the injunction and that no other proceedings would be pursued in the Federal Court.
This final outcome was also to the satisfaction of the Government, which had been concerned that, in the earlier proceedings before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, an agreement had been reached, or had apparently been reached, to deny supply of petroleum product to a party who, as I have mentioned, was not represented at those proceedings. The Bill before the House is designed to ensure that the deficiencies of the earlier proceedings before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission cannot occur again.
Accordingly the Bill provides that under a new Division 5a of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act the President or a presidential member of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission shall have jurisdiction in relation to a dispute relating to a contravention or a threatened, impending or probable contravention of section 45 d or of the new section 45e of the Trade Practices Act that relates or may relate to work to be done under an award or in which an organisation of employees registered under the Concilitation and Arbitration Act, or a member or officer of such an organisation is involved. In this way, the Commission will have jurisdiction without the need for an interstate industrial dispute or a threatened, impending or probable industrial dispute, because the jurisdiction will be based upon action under the Trade Practices Act which is in turn derived from the constitutional power of the Parliament to legislate with respect to corporations under section 51(xx) of the Constitution.
The Bill provides that the President of the Commission or the Registrar may be notified by the person who has applied for an injunction under the Trade Practices Act restraining another person from engaging in conduct that constitutes a contravention of sections 45d or 45e of that Act or of conduct associated with such contraventions. Equally the person against whom the injunction has been sought may also notify the Commission, as may a Minister. Upon such notification, or if the President otherwise becomes aware of the existence of a dispute, the Commission will have power to settle that dispute by conciliation. When seized with its jurisdiction under the proposed new Division 5a, the Commission is required to exercise only the powers available to it under that division.
The Bill specifies the parties to such a dispute who are entitled to participate in any proceedings before the Commission under the new Division. These will include any Federal unions involved, the employers of workers who are members of these unions, the organisations to which the employers belong, the persons seeking an injunction under the Trade Practices Act and those sought to be restrained by the injunction. In addition, a Minister who notifies the Commission that he wishes to do so becomes a party.
Provision has also been made for the Commission to include other persons as parties and to grant leave to intervene to other persons or organisations. As I have already indicated, the jurisdiction of the Commission, based as it is on the Corporations’ power, will be comprehensive as to cases arising under sections 45d and 45e of the Trade Practices Act. In this way, any limitations which affect the Commission’s normal jurisdiction in relation to industrial disputes under Division 1 of the Act are put aside.
The power of the Commission to deal with such disputes by conciliation reflects the Government ‘s acceptance that disputes of this kind are best dealt with by seeking to bring about agreement between the parties directly involved. Thus, the Trade Practices (Boycotts) Amendment Bill provides that any contract, arrangement or understanding which is reached and to which a person who is prevented or hindered from supplying goods or acquiring goods is a party, shall not be in breach of the provisions of the proposed new section 45E which makes such contracts, arrangements or understanding otherwise a contravention of the Act. Accordingly, the Commission’s role will be to seek to resolve the disputes by conciliating in such a way as to bring about agreement involving all the parties, including the party which has sought or is entitled to seek a remedy under the Trade Practices Act. In this way the Government believes actions under the Trade Practices Act which have industrial relations implications can be dealt with by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission with a view to their resolution and in a way which the Government believes should minimise industrial action affecting the community at large. The concept behind the Bills is to provide a cooling off’ process in relation to such disputes. As my colleague the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs has indicated, the Government remains committed to the principles underlying the pro visions of the Trade Practices Act regarding boycotts and arrangements to deny the supply to or acquisition of goods or services and the Trade Practices (Boycotts) Amendment Bill he has introduced strengthens the rights of individuals in that connection.
Of particular relevance to the Conciliation and Arbitration (Boycotts) Bill are the proposed provisions of the Trade Practices (Boycotts) Amendment Bill dealing with a stay of injunction. That Bill provides that where proceedings are pending before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and the court has issued an injunction under sections 45D or 45E, a Minister or a party to the proceedings before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission may apply to the court for a stay of the operation of the injunction. The Federal Court is empowered, on the making of such an application, to make such an order if it considers that to do so would be likely to facilitate a settlement of the dispute by conciliation and that under all the circumstances it would be just to do so. This provision is designed to enable the Federal Court to take into account the fact that proceedings are before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and thus to give the Commission the opportunity to resolve the dispute which has given rise to the injunction through the processes of conciliation.
In these circumstances, if such a dispute is settled in the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission by agreement of all the parties, further substantive injunctive proceedings before the Federal Court would become unnecessary. If, however, the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission is not able to resolve the dispute by conciliation, the injunctive rights of the parties under the Trade Practices Act will remain in effect and may thereafter proceed. The Bills do not affect in any way the rights of a person to seek damages in relation to contravention of sections 45D or 45E.
My colleague the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs has already drawn attention to the provisions of the legislation which would provide for conciliation functions to be exercised by a State court or tribunal or that of a Territory. I would emphasise that this course of action has been pursued by the Government because it recognises that not all disputes arising under section 45D or the proposed section 45E of the Trade Practices Act would fall within the jurisdiction of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. As I have already indicated, this is predicated upon action under the Trade Practices Act that relates to or may relate to work to be done under a Federal award or in which federally registered organisations are involved. Thus, the Bills recognise that where disputes arise which involve matters relevant to work covered by State awards or determinations or State-registered unions, the conciliation process in relation to that matter ought properly to be dealt with by the industrial relations tribunal directly involved. In this connection, the Government will be approaching State and Territory governments to seek their agreement to relevant tribunals exercising jurisdiction under the proposed new legislation. Action will not be taken to prescribe any such State or Territory legislation in the meantime.
The Bills before the House provide a means by which rights under the Trade Practices Act are strengthened while, at the same time, providing for appropriate conciliation processes to facilitate the resolution of disputes having industrial relations implications before a tribunal having a responsibility for industrial relations matters generally. The Government believes that these proposals will remedy jurisdictional and other deficiencies to which I have already referred. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Young) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 22 April, on motion by Mr Eric Robinson:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– May I have the indulgence of the House to suggest that the House have a general debate covering this Bill and Supply Bill (No. 2) 1980-81 as they are associated measures? Separate questions will, of course, be put on each of the Bills at the conclusion of the debate.
-Is it the wish of the House to have a general debate covering these two measures? There being no objection, I will allow that course to be followed.
-The Bills now before the House are Bills which are normally introduced at this time of the year. They provide the Government with Supply for the financial year 1980-81 until the Appropriation Bills are passed and they provide the Government with the authority to spend for the rest of 1980-81. The Opposition does not oppose this legislation. However, it wishes to take advantage of this debate to comment further on the way in which the Government is conducting economic policy in this country. At a later stage, I will be moving an amendment to the motion relating to the second reading of this Bill which is critical of the Government’s economic management. As I stated in a previous debate approximately a month ago, the Government’s performance in respect of generating economic recovery in this country- in ‘turning on the lights’, to use the phrase of 1975- has been absolutely abysmal. That is an undeniable fact. Economic growth and employment growth have been well below that which occurred under the Labor Government.
I should like to examine the rate of growth of real gross non-farm product. This has particular significance because by excluding the farm sector one is looking at the rest of the economy. Its performance is influenced very much by the Government, whereas farm product can be influenced by such matters as world prices and seasonal factors. The growth in real gross nonfarm product under the Labor Government averaged 2.7 per cent for the three years from 1973 to 1975 but in the first three years of the present Government’s term in office it averaged 2.1 per cent. Real non-farm product increased at a substantially lower rate under the Fraser Government than it did under the Labor Government. Similarly, the total gross domestic product, including the farm sector, increased by an average of 3.2 per cent during the three years of office of the Labor Government and by 2.5 per cent during the first three years of office of the Fraser Government.
There is no doubt that the overall rate of growth of the economy, irrespective of whether we include the farm sector, has been significantly less under the Fraser Government than it was under the previous Labor Government. That, of course, is of substantial significance to the health of the economy generally, employment, growth in productivity and living standards. If we look at employment and use the labour force figures, which are one of two sources of figures available for employment growth- the labour force figures are those which are favoured by the present Government- we will find that in the three years in which the Labor Government was in office employment grew by 260,000. Using the labour force figures, employment has grown by 206,000 in the four years of the present Government. So, under this Government, there has been much less employment growth despite the fact that there has been an additional year in which to achieve that growth. That is the situation using the labour force figures. The difference is much more startling if one uses the other source of employment figures; that is, civilian wage and salary earners. This series of employment figures shows, for the period November 1972 to November 1975, a growth of 296,000 or 6.3 per cent under the Labor Government. For the next four years, November 1975 to November 1979, there has been a growth of a whole 2 1 ,600 or 0.4 per cent in the total number of wage and salary earners employed while this Government has been in office.
– What about the self-employed?
-I will be coming to all those figures. Do not worry about that. There has been a startling difference in the employment growth under this Government when compared with the growth under the Labor Government. This poor employment and economic growth performance has been accompanied by a severe fall in living standards for the great majority of the population. It is a startling fact for us to realise that this Government has presided over a period of a very substantial reduction in living standards- if one measures living standards by real disposable income of the people- in the last four years. Living standards are difficult to measure but they comprise more than real disposable income. They comprise also those things which people receive back from governments in a way which is difficult to put in terms of income, such as the standard of education, the standard of health care, the money that is available for leisure or for aged persons accommodation and the multitude of ways in which the government spends money which builds up what is sometimes described as the social wage. No one would deny that in this area of living standards growth there has been a substantial reduction under the present Government because this Government has been reducing the level of government expenditure.
Returning to this area of real disposable income- the income people have after they pay their taxes and meet their health insurance payments- we find that there has been a startling development for all taxpayers earning less than $26,000 a year by December 1979 and who had their income increased in line with average weekly earnings over the previous four years. All of them have had a reduction in their real disposable income. It is a tremendous indictment of the present Government that everyone whose incomes have increased in line with average weekly earnings and who, by the end of 1979 had an income of less than $26,000 per annum, suffered a reduction in their standard of living as measured by real disposable income. Some people have had their income increasing at a faster rate than average weekly earnings. That might include some wage and salary earners but it also includes many people who are relying on incomes from profits or from business or farm activities. But certainly we can say that on this analysis, the overwhelming majority of the population have had their living standards reduced. That is a tremendous indictment of any government.
This reduction has been greater for those on lower incomes. A person with a dependent spouse and two dependent children and who earns income at the average minimum award rate, which is now about $170 a week, has suffered a decline in his real disposable income; that is that amount of money which he has in real terms after he has paid income tax and met his health insurance, and it includes family allowance. His income is 10 per cent less than it was four years previously. That is an incredible reduction. On the basis of average weekly earnings which are now about $245 a week that reduction is 8 per cent. They are not figures that I have plucked out of the air. They are carefully developed figures and I have produced tables relating to them in previous debates. They are tremendously important to every Australian because they illustrate that there has been this very substantial reduction in living standards. As incomes rise and go above average weekly earnings that percentage reduction declines. It is only over the $26,000 barrier that we start to get some real increase in disposable income. The further we go above that figure the greater has been the increase in real disposable income.
– Does that include tax?
– I am including taxes in that. It includes taxes and real gross income, taking net account of the income tax paid and the health insurance paid and including family allowance. Taking all those things into account we have these large reductions in living standards. That is a tremendously important factor for the vast bulk of the population, particularly as it has happened in a way which has meant that those who can least afford a reduction in their living standards have suffered the greatest reduction. It is an enormous indictment of any government that it should so bring about a change in the income distribution of the country that it greatly reduces the living standards of those who can least afford it. In this, of course, one is not taking account of the unemployed. They have suffered an even greater reduction in their living standards. I am looking here at people who have maintained their occupations and who are receiving a wage income. The single unemployed are, of course, in an even worse situation and I will come to them in a moment.
What a mockery all of this makes of the Fraser promise to govern for all Australians. How can the Government say that it is governing for all Australians when it is destroying the living standards of the vast bulk of the people and destroying most of the living standards of those on the lowest incomes? How can that be government for all Australians, particularly when it is associated with increases in real incomes and real standards of living for those on the high incomes and, in particular, those on the highest incomes? How is that government for all Australians? Obviously, it is anything but that. The reality is that there has never been such a divisive government which has set out to bring about this kind of inequitable redistribution of income’ in this country and a government which has so deliberately set out to play Robin Hood in reverse- to rob the poor to help the rich.
That is evident in every part of the Government’s policies. It is evident in the Government’s wages policy, which it has said openly many times has been designed to transfer real income from wage and salary earners to profit earners. Of course, that was defended for a while on the basis that it was necessary for something called real wage overhang- the excessive growth of wages ahead of productivity. The Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission said years ago that this so-called wage overhang, if it ever existed, has since ceased to exist. Nevertheless the government pursues this policy of reducing the real purchasing power of wages. The Government has restructured the income tax schedule time and time again. On almost every occasion this has had the effect of imposing a higher burden of tax on those on the lower incomes and relieving those on the highest incomes. So, there has been a restructuring of the tax scales to make the scheme far less equitable than previously.
The Government ‘s petrol tax policy has been a source of an enormous increase in taxation- in the order of two-and-a-half fold taking into account the crude oil levy and the excise tax in the last four years. Of course, the petrol tax has its most damaging effects on those on the lowest incomes. The tax for a litre of petrol is the same whether one is a pauper or a millionaire. The tax has grown from about 5c a litre to 17c a litre. That tax is paid whether one is on the minimum wage, receiving unemployment benefit or making a million dollars a year. The tax is highly inequitable and therefore has its most damaging effect on those on the lowest incomes.
The Government’s health insurance policy has been designed to increase greatly the cost of health insurance for people by removing government subsidies for medical insurance, therefore forcing people to make large payments to funds for medical cover. In New South Wales at present that cover amounts to $4.20 for a single person and $8.30 for a family. That is like a tax. It is not paid to the Government. It is paid to a health insurance fund. When Labor was in office, under Medibank one paid little or nothing for health cover. If one’s doctor bulk billed there was no need to have any medical cover. It is now necessary to pay not only much more income tax -the incidence of income tax has increased greatly for those on lower incomes- but also much more petrol tax. One also has to pay this additional tax in a sense, this health insurance payment, because the Government has removed the health insurance subsidy. That, of course, is the same payment whatever one’s income. Again, like the petrol tax it is highly inequitable. The lower one ‘s income the greater the effect on one’s disposable income. One pays that $8.30 whether one receives the minimum wage or a million dollars a year. Therefore, that policy also has done much to destroy the living standards of wage and salary earners- the vast bulk of the population- particularly those on lower incomes.
The Government’s family allowances policy has also contributed to this reduction in living standards. Initially, family allowances appeared to be one area which would be an exception because the Government made a very substantial and worthwhile change in 1976 when it abolished the income tax deduction for children and made a sum payable by way of a family allowance. That had a very beneficial effect- the Opposition acknowledged this at the time and we acknowledge it now- of assisting greatly those people who did not pay tax. It gave many people receiving welfare payments a substantial increase in real income. I repeat that that was an important and worthwhile change but it has been destroyed because family allowances have not been increased in line with inflation, or at all, since that time. They have remained frozen. In the interim, prices have increased by some 45 per cent. That means that the purchasing power of those family allowances has been considerably reduced in the interim period. Therefore, the benefit of that change to low income families has been enormously eroded by the Government’s refusal to increase family allowances.
I turn now to deal with the Government’s unemployment benefits policy. The Government since May 1 978 has maintained a freeze on unemployment benefits for some 70 per cent of unemployment benefit recipients. I am referring to all single persons who are unemployed. They have received no increase in their benefit payment since May 1978. In the interim, the consumer price index has increased by 20 per cent. Therefore, they have suffered a reduction in their living standards of 20 per cent during that time. Certainly, unemployment benefits have been increased for recipients with dependants but not for 70 per cent of recipients. Again, that is an enormous indictment of the Government, which presumably is following this policy because it blames the victims for their situation. How it can do that I do not know, but of the order of 230,000 single, unemployed people- a very large number indeed- have had their real income levels reduced by 20 per cent in the last two years.
Altogether, this is clearly a highly redistributive Government, one which has sought to redistribute income from the have-nots to the haves. In our view, that is an enormous indictment of the Government. Despite its appalling record, the Government now claims that we have turned the corner, that the economy is now shaping up, that output and employment in particular are now showing strong recovery and that all of this pain and penalty in a sense has been worth while because at last we will reap the benefits. The Government is less anxious to point to rising inflation rates and rising interest rates.
Let me examine, in the time remaining to me, the Government’s claim that output and employment growth are indicative of a resurgent economic recovery. The Government points to the 4.1 per cent growth rate in gross domestic product in the first six months of the current financial yearJuly to December 1979. That 4.1 per cent growth rate is well above the rates that have been recorded in the past but, welcome as it is, it is no real indicator of fundamental economic recovery. That is because it is overwhelmingly made up of export growth which, in turn, is mainly accounted for by good seasons and favourable export markets for our rural products and continued growth of our mineral exports. The evidence for the statement that the growth has occurred mainly in the export areas is found if one looks at the real gross non-farm product as distinct from real GDP. The growth rate for the first half of the current financial year has dropped from 4. 1 per cent to 3.3 per cent, which indicates that the farm sector results have had a strong influence on the gross domestic product. In fact, gross farm product grew by 13 per cent. Therefore, if one excludes that growth one finds that there has been a significant decline. More importantly, a further examination of the national accounts shows that three-quarters of the 4.1 per cent growth in GDP in the first half of the financial year was attributable to increased exports. If one takes out exports- as one can do by examining the national accounts- and studies the real gross domestic product minus exports, one sees that there has been a growth of only 1 .3 per cent.
-But you can ‘t do that.
-Of course I can do that. It is a way of looking at what is happening to the nonexport part of the economy.
-It is a part of the national economy.
– Precisely; it leaves out the export sector and looks at the rest of the economy, which represents the vast bulk of the economy. We find that it is faring terribly. If we take out the export sector, we find that the remainder of GDP has shown a growth rate of only 1.3 per cent. That is about equivalent to the rate of growth of the population. In other words, there is no growth whatever per head of population in the non-export sector of the economy.
– That is due to the antiinflationary policy of the Government.
-Precisely; I like the point that the honourable member makes- that the low growth in the domestic economy is due to the Government’s restrictive contractionary policy. That is exactly right. Its contractionary policies are the basic reasons why we have this appallingly low rate of economic growth in the non-export sector of the economy and, ironically, the very measures that are used to contract the economy and which are supposed to reduce inflation, are in fact increasing it; but I will come to that later.
I repeat that a growth rate of 1 .3 per cent in the non-export sector of the economy is an extremely low growth rate and equivalent to the rate of population growth. It shows that there is no economic recovery on the way so far as nonexport activity is concerned. Furthermore, although there has been a welcome rise in manufactured exports, by far the major part of the export surge has been produced by the agricultural industry, principally in the form of wheat and meat, and also by the mining industry. In fact, rural and mining products accounted for almost 80 per cent of the export growth. Thus, it cannot be claimed that our domestic economy is being swept along on some manufacturing export led recovery. There has been a substantial rise in manufactured exports but this would have added no more than 0.5 per cent to GDP. Most of our export growth is the product of highly capital-intensive output from industries that have been favoured by good seasons and a strong international demand for their products. The impact of drought and the gathering world recession are likely to restrict very substantially this rapid export growth as the 1 980s progress. Thus, the growth that we have seen has been very largely in the areas of agriculture and mineral exports, which depend on good seasons and favourable markets. In both areas, because of the drought and the coming world recession, we cannot expect export growth to continue in the next financial year.
An analysis of the national accounts demonstrates clearly that there is no sign of domestic economic recovery occurring. The non-export economy remains slack and recessed. Growth is minimal and, indeed, well below that of the previous year. Even more alarming is the fact that what growth did occur in July to December of last year was partly dependent on growth in stocks, which increased by 1 1.4 per cent in real terms. Such stock growth must soon end and then there will be even less likelihood of increased output unless demand increases and there is no sign of that occurring. Retail sales remain flat. Indeed, during the last year they have merely remained constant in real terms per head of population. One can hardly expect growth in real per capita retail sales when the living standards of the people have declined in the way in which I have outlined.
The latest consumer confidence figures published by Melbourne University’s Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research also provide no reason for hope of more than a minor pick-up in sales. The figures showed a slight rise in March, as one might expect soon after an announcement of supposed tax cuts, but they are still at only the level for 1979 as a whole which, in turn, represented the lowest level for the past five years. Thus, consumers are certainly not super-confident. The index of factory production for February 1 979, as published by the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd, also gives no indication of recovery. On a seasonally adjusted basis, output increased early in 1979, but has declined slightly since September 1979. Thus, over the last half year there has been no evidence of recovery in manufacturing industry.
Such dismal indicators of economic activity confirm the picture obtained from the national accounts- exports apart- that the economy is at a very low ebb. This makes it all the more surprising, therefore, that the Government claims to have achieved a strong rise in employment. The Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs (Mr Viner) now claims that we are well on the route to full employment and compounds that absurdity by declaring:
We have seen health and vitality restored to our economy and improved prospects for our standard of living.
We have already seen how absurd are such claims regarding the health of the economy and living standards. The Minister’s claims regarding employment are just as apocryphal. In his speech to the House last Tuesday week he claimed a rise in employment of 155,000 over the past 12 months. He has now updated that claim to 181,000 over the year to March 1980. He relies for these figures on the statistics published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in its monthly labour force survey. They represent the supposed growth in total employment- that is, wage and salary earners, self-employed persons, employers and family business and unpaid helpers- as discovered by a sample covering two-thirds of one per cent of the population, an extrapolation from that sample being made to derive total figures.
This supposed increase in employment of 181,000- which would represent a rise of 3 per cent in the labour force over the past year- is, in our view, highly dubious. There are a number of reasons for believing that it very considerably overstates the actual employment growth. Firstly, it just simply does not square with the growth of the economy generally. As I have said, real GDP, minus exports, is growing at only 1.3 per cent. Yet the Minister would have us believe that employment is growing by 3 per cent. If such a situation is occurring it is not likely to do so for much longer. Nor is it at all likely that the rapid growth of exports would account for such a large employment rise. Most of the export increase has been in industries which are not large employers of labour. The rural industries employ 6.3 per cent of our labour force and mining 1.5 per cent- together less than 8 per cent. Yet they account for 80 per cent of the export growth.
Furthermore, in the area of manufactured exports, although that has grown, this growth has apparently been at the expense of production for the home market because the ANZ index of factory production shows, as I have mentioned, a decline for the half year to February 1980. So a dramatic rise in employment in those circumstances of sluggish output growth seems exceedingly unlikely. It would also mean that there has been no productivity rise. The Minister for Productivity (Mr Newman) should resign because, if the claims by the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs are right, he has become the Minister for declining productivity and has been a total failure in his job.
Another reason for not believing the employment figures is that they differ wildly from the growth in employment shown by other series of employment figures produced by the Bureau of Statistics. I refer to the figures for wage and salary earners in civilian employment. Eighty-five per cent of these figures, the civilian employment series, are obtained from returns from government businesses and from payroll tax datahighly verifiable material- and some 15 per cent has to be estimated. This series covers only wage and salary earners in civilian employment. It excludes wage and salary earners in domestic service and agriculture, but neither defence nor the other excluded areas are growth areas of employment. Over the last year the figures in this series, wage and salary earners in civilian employment, have moved very differently from the labour force figures for employment relied on by the Government.
I ask the House to consider these figures. The employed labour force growth for the year February 1979 to February 1980, according to the labour force series figures, was 1 55,000 or 2.6 per cent. Of that 155,000, 127,000 were said to be wage and salary earners. But the civilian wage and salary earner employment series showed a growth of only 55,000, as against the 127,000 in the labour force series- much less than half. That is a growth of 1.1 per cent instead of the 2.5 per cent in the labour force series figures. So there is a very considerable difference. It is even more considerable if om. looks at what happened in the last half year. Total employed work force growth from August 1979 to February 1980, according to the labour force figures, was 133,000. Of that, employed wage and salary earners took up 12 1,000, according to the labour force figures. But the civilian wage and salary earner figures, which are highly verifiable because they are based on payroll tax data and so on, showed a growth of only 28,000. Yet the labour force figure, the sample figure, showed a growth of 121,000, which the Government of course has grasped with both hands. But the civilian wage and salary earner figures have gone up by a mere 28,000 in the same period.
One of those two series has to be a mile out. There is no doubt which one it is. It is the labour force series. That is confirmed by the fact that the man who is responsible for those figures, the man in charge of the section which compiles the labour force figures, says that they are crook. I refer again to the ‘White Paper on Jobs’ published in the National Times of 9 March, in which there was a quotation from Mr Max Griffiths, Director of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Force Section. The quotation reads:
However, after examining the figures for the year to November 1979, he said: “There’s something funny in the Labour Force Series at the end of the period. It seems there’s a violent fluctuation between August and November. “You can’t place too much reliance on short term movements in the Labour Force surveys,” Griffiths said, adding that the bureau preferred using the Civilian Employees series for measuring short-term movements in employment.
There we have it from the man in charge that the labour force figures are ‘funny’. He thinks that they should not be used, that something violent happened between August and November last year and that one should look at the civilian employment series for more reliable short term growth. If we look at that we see a far different picture from that which the Government claims. I would like to say more in this regard, but time has beaten me. Therefore, I move:
-Is the amendment seconded?
– I second the amendment with enthusiasm.
– I support the Supply Bills before the House and, in doing so, the economic policies put forward by this Government. We have become quite accustomed to speeches of gloom and despair from the Opposition spokesman on these matters, the honourable member for Gellibrand (Mr Willis). During bis 30-minute contribution not one sentence was devoted to alternatives. I think the speech that he made shows quite clearly very fundamental differences between the Opposition’s approach and the Government’s approach to responsible economic management. I hope during my remarks to be able to dispel many of the assertions that he made. We do not think that everything in the garden is rosy, and I would be the first to admit that there are certainly great areas of concern and difficulty in economic management, particularly given the international and national factors which are so important and which so often are outside our control. But I can also see that the economic policies of this Government are constantly shown to be proper ones.
I refer to some recent results. The March quarter survey of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and the National Bank reported that trading and profit results were better during the March quarter than had been expected and did not display the usual post-Christmas downturn to the same extent as in recent years. The forecast for the June quarter showed even better expectations. In response to a special question on the outlook for business in the year ahead, 39 per cent of respondents saw their activities expanding while only 6 per cent of the respondents saw them contracting. That is a marked improvement on the previous assessment made in 1978 in response to a similar question. The improved outlook for capital expenditure disclosed in the previous survey was fully maintained, reflecting a higher level of activity anticipated.
The statistics of the Australian Bureau of Statistics also show a strong growth in industrial production in March. The honourable member for Gellibrand did not see fit to mention that. Industrial disputation was the major reason for those results not being even better than they were. Last month’s release of the December quarter national accounts showed a strong overall growth in economic activity in the last half of 1979, even stronger than expected in the last Budget and consistent with the strong growth in employment over this period. I think all of that growth in economic activity, which the honourable member seemed to disparage, was consistent with the strong growth in employment over this period and the good profit results which are being announced in company interim reports for the first half of this financial year.
Less than two weeks ago we saw the success of the Government’s issue of tap bonds by which longer term securities were heavily subscribed at a yield of 1 1.8 per cent. For five year securities to be so well subscribed to at this yield reflected partly a pent-up demand for long term securities but, more significantly, was a tribute to the strength of the Australian dollar when one considers the much higher interest rates which could have been obtained overseas. This result, together with the successful Telecom public loan, indicates that investors believe that interest rates have now peaked in this country. I think most commentators now share that view.
It is significant that the market reached this opinion regarding the tap issue just before the rates in the United States started to fall and just prior to the economic indicators there beginning to reflect the magnitude of that country’s present economic crisis. I think the fact that this issue was so well subscribed, given the interest rate differentials which exist between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, is a very sound message from overseas that the Australian economy is seen as being strong. Given the monetary targets set by the Government in the Budget, I think the recent interest rate movements are fully justified and appreciated. The obvious indication is that both overseas and domestic investors perceive and support the Government’s continuing commitment to antiinflationary policies, which is the only basis for ensuring a steady economic environment of the kind which is so necessary to attract longer term investment.
The strength of our balance of payments and our capacity to attract investors, notwithstanding the interest rate differentials, is closely related to the Government’s policy of expenditure restraint, reduced Budget deficits and the resulting control of the money supply. I think it is clear that if the Budget deficit had been allowed to expand out of control one of a number of things would have happened by now. Firstly, if investor confidence had fallen as a result, funds would have flowed out of Australia. That would have put downward pressure on our exchange rate and that in turn would have created the kind of inflation which would have occurred if the funds had stayed in Australia anyway. Alternatively, a much higher interest rate would have been required to keep funds in Australia and that would further restrict the level of economic activity in this country. Again, the money supply would simply expand, increasing inflation, destroying investor confidence, weakening our international trading position and our balance of payments. But the policy of restraint has meant that we have avoided all of that.
We find that inflation is being contained, interest rates seem to have peaked and are now, according to most commentators, coming off the top, the balance of payments remains stronger than otherwise would be the case and our international competitive position provides a sound basis for the export-oriented employment growth to which I thought the honourable member for Gellibrand did not give due credence. In my view, the relationship between all of those factors should never be forgotten. I believe that the control of inflation is so very important if unemployment is to be successfully tackled. There is a strong link to be observed ber tween inflation, export growth and employment growth. There is simply no short cut to the solution of our problems.
When this Government came to office it was confronted with inflation rates which to March 1975 peaked at an annual level of 17.5 per cent, and that was well above the average for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development nations as a whole. The Government has succeeded in bringing this annual rate of inflation down to a level of 10 per cent for the year ended December 1979, which is some two to three percentage points below the average for all OECD countries and that has been the major reason for the strengthening in the employment market over the last two years. That is the message that I was trying to get across to the honourable member for Gellibrand during the course of his remarks. I believe that the honourable member did not acknowledge that fact sufficiently.
Earlier this month the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs (Mr Viner) provided further evidence of that when he produced details of the preliminary labour force figures for March 1980 which were released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. These figures show that the number of people employed in Australia over the 12-month period to March 1980 had increased by 181,600. 1 would prefer to believe the professional competence of that Bureau than the disparaging comments of the honourable member. I agree that the result for April, in which there was an increase of 200 unemployed, was disappointing. Nevertheless, unemployment is less now than it was a year ago. The April figure also showed a vast improvement in the young unemployed with 9,900 teenagers fewer than last year looking for their first job. As the labour market has strengthened, more people have been encouraged to enter the labour force, thereby probably contributing to that April result. Even with the April figures, I think the longer term perspective of a stronger labour market is very apparent. I would suggest that the major impetus for this strengthening is due to the improved competitiveness of our trading position, particularly in the manufacturing sector, as a result of those successful anti-inflationary policies. I say that because the level of consumer spending in Australia has been fairly sluggish for some time. I do not deny that. But I think that that position should be rectified to some extent when the removal of the income tax impost from 1 December of last year starts to have its effect and also when the recently announced tax cuts take their effect from 1 July of this year.
Private investment spending has not been a major demand force, although the estimated figures for the first half of this year should have a decided positive effect on employment in the near future as increased emphasis is now being placed on fixed investment in buildings and structures in both the mining and manufacturing sectors. It is expected that new fixed capital expenditure will be 19 per cent higher in the first six months of 1980 than it was in the last six months of 1979. That trend will be further encouraged by the substantial increase in the gross operating surplus of companies over the course of 1979. That all means a strengthening yet again of the labour market. Given government expenditure restraint, the major sources of expenditure which has substantially increased employment in the recent past is therefore export growth, the value of which increased by nearly 40 per cent in the first seven months of this financial year. Australia’s trade surplus for the 10 months of the financial year so far totals $2,259m, compared with only $196m in the same period for last year.
If ever the Opposition required a clear explanation of the links between policies of restraint, lower inflation and higher employment, surely that is it. But the Opposition still says that policies of government spending restraint are harsh and that the public sector should be expanded. Members of the Opposition do not seem to realise that in the two years between August 1973 and August 1975 the number of unemployed people looking for full time work increased by 2 10 per cent, and that occurred when the Labor Government massively increased government expenditure in order to cure the problem, which it only succeeded in making much worse. They lose sight of the fact that buying government jobs by expanding government spending and increasing the deficit leads to higher inflation, higher taxes, higher interest rates, lower investment- all the factors which cause the private sector, which employs most of our work force and which is the only sector which creates the wealth we can enjoy and redistribute to the disadvantaged, to lose confidence and stop expanding.
I would like to quote from a speech made by the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Carlton) earlier this year during debate on a matter of public importance on the subject of government created jobs. He said:
Such programs might create jobs in the short-term in the public sector or with private firms engaged on government contracts, but every job that is created with such fanfare by such programs is lost quietly and with disillusionment in every small shop and every small factory throughout the nation.
So for every job artificially created in the public sector, several jobs are lost in the private sector because there is a general breakdown in confidence in the economy resulting from the way in which the public sector is financed through high inflation rates, higher taxes and higher interest rates. Yet members of the Opposition say that they will repeat this policy if they are again elected to office. I just ask: Why do they not compare their so-called compassionate policy of unemployment with our so-called policy of harshness? I should not have to remind them that it is our policy of restraint which has seen employment in Australia grow by 181,600 over the past 12 months. We agree that unemployment is still far too high, but at least I believe we are tackling it responsibly and getting improved results.
Our policy of restraint has led to the creation of those circumstances which lead to higher employment- reduced inflation rate, reduced taxes, greater exports, expanding investment and expanding national production. All of those trends have been achieved, and will lead to better employment prospects, simply by policies of restraint which are designed to encourage the expansion of the only productive sector of the economy- the private sector. Members of the Opposition who say that policies of restraint are harsh should think of those who have been placed in employment as a result of our policies. They should also realise that these policies have allowed the Government to provide tax relief, which would not have been possible if we had not stopped spending other people’s money. The Opposition seems to forget that some 90 per cent of all taxpayers are now taxed at the standard marginal rate and that, as a result of our policies, some 500,000 low income earners now pay no tax at all. The honourable member for Gellibrand did not refer to that.
In addition, although the Opposition likes to point out that at current money values, tax receipts have risen while we have been in office, it does not acknowledge that in real terms, after allowing for inflation and wage adjustments, the total amount of income tax collected from all taxpayers in the 1978-79 financial year fell in real terms. It is the first time in many years that that has been achieved. Since then further tax reductions have been introduced by the Government, which mean that families with a dependent spouse paying the standard rate of tax will be $4.70 a week better off as from 1 July.
The policy of expenditure restraint has achieved that, and stands in stark contrast to the record of the Labor Government, which raised receipts from personal income tax by a massive 89 per cent during its first two years in office. After three Budgets, the Labor Government had increased total taxation revenue by 99 per cent. I cannot see the compassion in that. Not only were those in work paying more taxes, but also the higher taxes were putting more people out of work. I hope that these policy achievements will be considered carefully by the electorate of Australia when it is told that the Labor Party will continue its economic policy of public expenditure growth if it is returned to office. In that regard, I quote from a speech made by the honourable member for Gellibrand, the shadow Treasurer, when in 1978 he said:
If Labor does not gain office next election then by 1983, when we could next hope to gain office, we would face a mammoth task in rebuilding the public sector- and maybe an equally mammoth task in convincing the electorate that it should pay a higher level of tax to enable us to do so.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden), in an address to the Royal Institute of Public Administration on 24 March this year, said:
I favour the maintenance of a steady rate of growth in the real level of public expenditure to fulfil Labor’s policy aspirations.
In the Chamberlain Lecture on 2 March 1979 the Leader of the Opposition summed up his position when he said:
The challenge to traditional, democratic Socialism is the rapid spread of philosophies based on lower taxes and smaller government.
In other words, the Labor Party remains committed to big government and high taxes and sees our alternative of small government and lower taxes as a threat to its basic socialist philosophy. It has obviously learnt very huie from its own experience in government. Members of the Opposition, in saying that our policies of restraint are harsh, should look at some of the initiatives in the welfare area which proper housekeeping has allowed this Government to pursue. It was Professor Henderson who said that the aged, the weak and the disadvantaged in this community suffered most from high rates of inflation. The Government has substantially reduced the rate of inflation from 1 Vh per cent to something like 10 per cent per annum.
It was this Government that introduced automatic indexed pension increases, providing security for pensioners and taking pension increases away from the area where they could be used as a political football. This month the single rate age pension will rise to $6 1 .05 a week, which is 57.5 per cent higher than the rate that was being paid when we came to office, and the married rate will rise to $ 10 1 .70 a week. That means that pensions will reach higher levels in relation to average weekly earnings than at any time in the last 25 years. The level of income at which entitlement to pension ceases for a single person has increased from $97.50 a week in November 1975 to $142.10 in May 1980. Comparable increases have occurred for married pensioner couples. The Government has also increased the income limits for eligibility for pensioner health benefit cards from $33 to $40 a week for single pensioners and from $57.50 to $68 a week for married couples. This eligibility has also been extended for supporting parent beneficiaries. Home care services and accommodation programs for the aged have been greatly expanded, senior citizens centres have benefited from an expanded program, and assistance to handicapped persons through various schemes has increased by over 90 per cent.
In addition to the tax cuts to which I referred earlier, the most recent tax cuts announced by the Treasurer (Mr Howard) provide further benefits to low income earners as well as to family units. As the honourable member for Macarthur (Mr Baume) pointed out, as a result of these tax reforms a pensioner or any other low income earner with a dependant will now pay no tax whatsoever on anything he earns up to $125 a week. That is a drastic improvement, representing an increase of $16 a week in the amount of tax-free income that can be earned. Many other welfare reforms have been introduced by this Government, but I think that those I have outlined indicate quite clearly that the honourable member for Gellibrand is quite wrong when he asserts that we have not been equitable in the way we have re-distributed income. We certainly have been.
Our record in the welfare area has been a solid one, and has been achieved at the same time as we have been able to pursue a policy of economic reality and to put another 181,000 people in jobs over the past 12 months. I state these facts simply to show that the economic policy which has been pursued consistently by this Government over the last four years is one of economic reality, one of compassion, and one which is working and producing results. As I said at the start, I am not saying that everything in the garden is rosy. There are still great problems, but there are no short cuts to solving the problems of stagflation. No government has yet devised a popular way of defeating inflation. The only way in which we can continue responsibly on our course is to pursue the economic policies this Government has pursued so successfully in the last four years.
-The last part of the amendment moved by the honourable member for Gellibrand (Mr Willis) states: . . calls for the adoption of an alternative policy of responsible stimulation to the economy as advocated by the Opposition.
One of those areas is increased educational spending and I want to draw attention in this Supply debate to the way in which our education system perpetuates and intensifies existing inequalities in society. Life is a race with winners and losers, but it is a handicap race and there are severe penalties for starters whose parents come from the working class or from the country or who have an ethnic background. Outcomes might just as well be determined by postcode.
Education reflects all too accurately the economic society outside the school system. I have become convinced that a democratic revolution in education is one of the keys to maintaining increased quality of life and greater social cohesion in the 1980s and thereafter and, in particular, to providing answers to those questions that sooner or later we have to face up to in this Parliament. How are the unskilled and semiskilled to be employed in the 1980s? When routine, repetitive work carried out at present at high unit cost by people is replaced by low cost machines, what will the displaced employees be working at? Australia faces alarming increases in unemployment because, contrary to what the honourable member for Perth (Mr McLean) said, although there is an increase in the number of people in employment there is also a strikingly higher increase in the potential labour supply. The discrepancy between the potential labour supply and the actual number of people in employment now is of the order of 971,000, which includes the hidden unemployed or the underemployed as well as the unemployed who are registered with the Commonwealth Employment Service.
Australia faces alarming increases in unemployment and a widening social and economic division between the ‘information rich’ and the information poor’ unless a democratic, pluralistic and egalitarian education system is adopted which will give working class, rural and migrant children the same range of educational options, including access to tertiary education and the securing of professional qualifications, as are enjoyed at present by the urban, middle and professional classes. Australian participation rates in education are marked by enormous wastage among children of working class origin, children of migrant families, and children living in the country, especially girls. The educational and occupational future of most Australian children can still be predicted with a high degree of accuracy by asking only three questions: ‘Where do you live? What school do you go to? What does your father do?’ In 1977 Australia’s school population was divided into three groups, as follows:
The wastage factor varies dramatically between the three school systems. I ask leave of the House to incorporate in Hansard a short table indicating the wastage factor between the three school systems.
The table read as follows-
-I thank the House. Students of independent schools have disproportionately higher representation in the older universities which have more prestige, in law, medicine, science, and in honours degrees and post-graduate work generally, while students from government and Catholic schools- many of whom are intending to become teachers- are more likely to enrol for pass courses in arts and commerce. However, the figures given above understate the degree of bias towards the middle class and against the working class in securing access to tertiary education. Government schools reflect the prevailing philosophy of their locations. If it is taken for granted that a majority of pupils in the middle class area will complete year 12, enter a tertiary institution and work in a profession, then this will probably be a fulfilling prophecy. Similarly, in a working class area if it is also taken for granted that most students will drop out at the earliest opportunity and seek the declining number of available jobs this also will happen. If 90 per cent of students in high school X, in a middle class suburb, complete year 12 and enter a tertiary institution, while only 10 per cent do so in high school Y, in a working class suburb, we might adopt the fallacy of adding 90 plus 10, dividing by two and obtaining an average which is seriously misleading about both schools.
The 1976 census figures corrected to 1977 boundaries illustrate the contrasting educational profiles of two Melbourne electorates. Mr Deputy Speaker, you will not be too surprised that I have chosen the electorate of Lalor as a model. Lalor is an industrial, working class electorate with a large migrant population in the western suburbs of Melbourne and rural areas towards Geelong, St Albans, Deer Park, Werribee, Altona, Laverton, Sunshine North and Sunshine West. The percentage of population with a degree or graduate diploma is 0.54. The percentage of population aged 17 to 24 studying at universities or colleges of advanced education is 10.74.
Kooyong is a residential middle class electorate with a small migrant population in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne such as Kew, Hawthorn and Balwyn and has a percentage of population of 6.92 with a degree or graduate diploma. The percentage of population aged 1 7 to 24 studying at universities or colleges of advanced education is 46.05. For every person in Lalor with a degree or graduate diploma there are 12.74 in Kooyong. The census figures do not distinguish between university and CAE students, pass and honours students, or full time and part time students. If full time university students had been isolated there might have been a one to 10 discrepancy. Lalor has an educational profile like Mississippi; Kooyong like Connecticut.
The conventional wisdom in Australia accepts the middle class domination of education almost without question. Middle class politicians and educationalists take for granted that it is futile to expect higher participation rates for the working class in education past year 10. This view is widely accepted by the working class. The school system largely reflects middle class values and the teaching service has been an important means of providing professional training for young people from the working class. The implicit goal of the system is to enable students to complete year 12 and to enter a tertiary institution. Since this goal is not met by two-thirds of the pupils it is hardly surprising that formal education in the State system seems remote and irrelevant to so many. Students whose native language is Italian, Greek or Yugoslav find that their home culture is devalued. They must come to the school linguistically; the school does not come to them. Children whose parents have had little education and who have reflected unfavourably to it also have an inbuilt disadvantage. For most people education is a tedious once-in-a-lifetime experience to be endured before going to work. Success or failure at school largely determines what kind of job, if any, is secured and how much is earned. Education aimed at tertiary professional qualifications will seem utterly remote to a significant number of young people and their families. Nevertheless, a person born, say, in 1965 may well live to the year 2050 and it is pointless to provide that person with a basic education which is designed to fit him for the economic work of the year 1980, a world which may change out of all recognition by the end of the decade. The school is an excellent sorting machine. It classifies people and sets them apart. Just as cattle and sheep are branded so school leavers are branded or cast marked for life and few succeed in washing or shaking it off.
If a person attends a poor school and lives in a poverty stricken social environment the school system will do relatively little to overcome those disadvantages. If one is disadvantaged, school will tend to extend those disabilities throughout life. Cultural poverty seems to be inherited and it is extremely difficult to shake off
It is an irony that as we approach the goals of a satisfactory class-pupil ratio in conventionally equipped classrooms the goals that have been pursued by all parties for some time may recede, turn into a mirage, and prove irrelevant for the educational needs of a post-industrial or a postservice society. We ought to be prepared to accept that the worth of a society can be measured not only by the consumption of goods and physical amenities, but also by its willingness to provide psychological amenities, knowledge, understanding, expanded consciousness, cultural responsiveness and increased creativity. We must recognise that psychological needs are at least as important as physical ones and that education has always been, and will always be, our greatest industry in terms of employmentmeaning occupation both paid and unpaid- of vast numbers of people. But for Australia in the 1980s to suggest that as many of our young people are as educable as Canadians or Americans may seem a stunning or revolutionary proposal which involves accepting the concept that working class, rural or migrant children are educable, and reviving the now unfashionable doctrine of natural equality. I have had a table prepared by the Commonwealth Parliamentary
Library indicating the full and part time participation rates in tertiary education, including technical and further education in Australia for selected countries. I ask leave of the House to incorporate that table in Hansard.
The table read as follows-
-I thank the House. I draw attention to the fact that the overall figure in Australia for the last year held by the Library which was 1974 was 22.17 per cent as a percentage of 20 to 24 year-old students involved in tertiary education. On the other hand, the United States figure is 53.61 per cent and the Canadian figure, 34.69 per cent. The United States figure suggests that virtually all the population in a 20 to 24 age group, with an intelligence quota of above 100-the mean- is involved in tertiary studies, either full or part time. In practice, of course, we could assume that many bright young people aged 20 to 24 would not be involved; for example, women with children. There must be some with IQs in the 90s who are undergoing tertiary education because they have had a considerable boost from their families or their education system. The Australian figures, 22. 1 7 per cent, are misleadingly high because they include about 180,000 part time students in technical and further education undertaking vocational studies such as fitting and turning, food processing, hairdressing, dressmaking, sheet metal working and similar courses which are excluded from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development classification of tertiary education. In the age group 15 to 19 years the estimated distribution for August 1978 is as follows:
In the overlapping age group 17 to 22 years the numbers involved in tertiary education in 1977 is a follows:
I have given figures only for full-time education, because enrolments in part-time education are extraordinarily difficult to measure. In terms of full-time enrolments in tertiary institutions in the age group 17 to 22 years, some comparative figures are as follows: In Australia in 1977, 1 1.7 per cent; in Canada in 1970, 15 per cent; in Japan in 1973, 18 per cent; in New Zealand in 1973, 8.6 per cent; and in the United States in 1974,23.1 percent.
Examination of the comparative extent of education absorption in tertiary education in various countries suggests that young people, whether they are in the 15 to 24 year age group or the 17. to 22 year age group, may be arbitrarily classified into three groups.
Group 1 consists of young people of superior ability, or of above average ability, who receive the advantage of superior teaching and family encouragement and who wish to undertake tertiary education. They actually do so and generally succeed. In most, but not all, cases they enter professional employment. Most come from upper and middle class backgrounds.
Group 2 consists of young people with the capacity to undertake tertiary education and to succeed but who for a variety of reasons have come to accept self-limitation and prefer to seek early entry into employment, early marriage and establishing a home and family rather than postponing those goals to compete for a degree and then seek work in an uncertain future. Many drop out between years 10 and 12. Others complete year 12, then end their studies. Many in- this group, especially those from working class backgrounds, may have been socially conditioned by the family, the school and the environment, to accept what is, in fact, an unrealistically low level of aspiration. This group may also include people of superior ability whose capacity has never been properly assessed.
Group 3 consists of young people who have no intention of going on to undertake tertiary education and who would in most cases be unlikely to succeed. These people generally drop out of the secondary school system at the minimum leaving age or even earlier if exemptions are granted. Group 3 may include some young people of superior ability who are grossly disadvantaged by school. This group is predominantly comprised of people from the working class, rural areas and migrant families.
Taking into account the rapid dropout rate of 45 per cent between year 10 and year 12, the significant variation between retention rates in government, Catholic and independent schools, the variation in retention rate between the various State systems- that is, 32.4 per cent in New South Wales but only 24.3 per cent in Victoria- the decline in the proportion of students proceeding from year 12 to higher education from 54.6 per cent in 1974 to 48.7 per cent in 1977- the enormous variation in tertiary participation between various regions, and then comparing Australian participation rates to those in other countries, we may conservatively estimate the size of the three groups as follows: Group 1,15 per cent; group 2, 35 per cent; and group 3, 50 per cent.
It is striking that in the 15 to 19 year age group, comprising 1,248,900 young people, the unemployed are more numerous- at 9.8 per cent- than those engaged in tertiary education- 7.6 per cent- and the number of school leavers going on to higher education is declining. In August 1978, 17.5 percent of the 15 to 19 year age group in the labour force- that is, those not at school or in tertiary education- was unemployed, compared to a 4.8 per cent rate for those aged 20 years and over, a factor of 3.64 higher. However, it is essential to dispel two myths at this point. Myth No. 1 is that Australia has an atypically low number of young people in work. The reality is that compared with the United States, Canada and Japan, Australia has an unusually high number of young people at work. Myth No. 2 is that Australia has too many young people in tertiary education. The reality is that Australia has an unusually low number of young people in tertiary education compared to nations of comparable economic development. Its future economic and social growth will depend on increasing rates of educational participation at the higher levels.
With an estimated 1,475,000 people in the 17 to 22 year age group, Australia has 1 1.7 per cent of these people in full-time education- that is, 172,600. If we had the full-time participation rates of the United States, Japan or Canada, these figures would rise dramatically. In other words, if we had the United States figure we would have 168,125 more people involved in full-time education. If we had the Japanese figure, 92,900 more people would be involved and if we had the Canadian figure, 48,650 people would be involved. In order to overcome the twin problems of high youth unemployment and low participation rates in tertiary education, it is essential to increase the numbers of people in group 2 in universities and colleges of advanced education. In the United States, group 1 and group 2 students compete with each other in tertiary institutions, leaving many comparatively routine jobs available for people in group 3. In Australia, group 1 proceeds through tertiary education unchallenged by group 2. Because the people in group 2 are apprehensive about their economic future, they leave school in year 1 1 or year 12 and compete with group 3 for the available jobs. They get them and they leave group 3 to face chronic unemployment.
Solving youth unemployment is the greatest single social priority facing the nation. Unfortunately, Australia is passing through a period of cynical reaction against high spending on education. In the 1970s there was a strong public conviction that Australian education was not good enough, that new schools had to be built and that the status and salaries of teachers had to be raised. During the period of the Whitlam Labor Government, Commonwealth expenditure on education rose from $ 1,774m in 1972-73 to $4,082m in 1976-77, representing an increase of 230 per cent. After the Whitlam Government fell there was a political reaction against continued massive increases in educational expenditure, a sense that education had had its turn and that more money had to be spent on roads and hospitals instead. This view is mistaken. I hope that an incoming Labor Government after December 1 980 will do something about it.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Dr Jenkins)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I support both Supply Bill (No. 1 ) and Supply Bill (No. 2). It is interesting to note in comparison with the previous year that the allocations of $772m under Supply Bill (No. 1) and $4,247m under Supply Bill (No. 2) represent only a very slight increase over the figures appropriated last year as an interim measure. Although the Minister for Finance (Mr Eric Robinson) in introducing the Bills was careful to mention that the appropriations should not be taken as an indication of what might happen in the Budget, they provide an indication that there is a determination by this Government to restrict expenditure as far as possible. When people talk in terms of tax cuts, tax slashes and all the other things, what must be realised is that we can have a tax cut only if we have an appropriate decrease in the appropriations or in the revenue expenditure. I believe that the supply Bills show such a determination. They are not harsh in the terms in which the Opposition has described them but they certainly do not reflect the open-handed attitude of the Labor Government when it was in power.
I just mention the concluding remarks of the honourable member for Lalor (Mr Barry Jones) who preceded me in this debate. He mentioned that Commonwealth expenditure on education rose from $1,774 billion to over $4 billion in three years of the Labor Government, representing an increase of 230 per cent. That comparison would have been okay if it had applied only to education expenditure, but of course exactly the same comparison applied to most other expenditures by the Labor Government, resulting in a tremendous increase in expenditure, a flow on of inflation and, of course, the great tax grab of that Labor Government. I think it is important to remember- I will come back to this matter later- the influence that this expenditure has on inflation. I understand from not only the Government but also from the leading influential financial institutions throughout Australia that the Australian economy is on a recovery course. As the honourable member for Perth (Mr McLean) said earlier, everything is not peaches and cream. There are many difficulties in front of the Australian nation, the Australian Government and the State governments, but they can be overcome.
In this speech I wish to deal mostly with aspects of the economy which can be farreaching and far-ranging. In Australia today we have an economy which is not only uplifting the domestic scene but also is encouraging overseas investment. About four weeks ago I spoke in this House about foreign ownership and control. Whilst Australians cannot participate or do not wish to participate in the great investment opportunities that are available in Australia at the moment, it is absolutely essential that we have an economic climate that can attract foreign investment. The hassles and the lack of guarantees of security that Australian mineral investment would offer an overseas developer or a financier at this moment compared with the interest rates that they can obtain in their own countries- I will deal with those later, but basically in the United Kingdom it is 17 per cent to 18 per cent, and in the United States of America the figure rises to 20 per cent- are a fair indication that overseas investors think enough of the Australian economy and the security which this Government has given the country for the investors to be able to invest within our rather hazardous developmental opportunities.
I wish to deal with the propositions of the Opposition in its amendment. It is essential to debate this amendment. I am alarmed that every time the economy, unemployment and other similar subjects are discussed the Opposition takes the front running to ensure that an alarmist attitude is raised throughout the country. Amongst the economic whizz-kids of the Opposition’s front bench the champion is the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden). He introduced to Australia the Medibank fiasco and the 1975 Budget from which the economy is still recovering. The Opposition has put up propositions and then has called for the adoption of an alternative policy of responsible stimulation to the economy to which its members, in their speeches, have not addressed themselves. I think it is important for the people of Australia to realise that the easiest thing for a person to be in this country is a critic on the Opposition benches. Opposition members can espouse various policies which they know they will never have to justify. It is a lot different for the Government in trying to put forward responsible propositions and policies.
The Opposition has put forward the proposition that the Government has failed in its promise to provide an economic recovery. I believe that it has fulfilled its promise; just compare the existing economic situation with what it was during the Labor Party’s term of government and also compare our economic situation to that existing in other countries today. The Australian people of today and in the future will be able to look back on the events which took place between 1972 and 1975 and judge for themselves. Australia does have an inflation rate of 10.5 per cent. We would like to see it at a lower rate, but in comparison to the high rate reached by the Whitlam Government of 1 7 per cent it is not too bad. Our inflation rate compares favourably with that of the United Kingdom where, I understand, it is around 16 per cent or 1 7 per cent and with the climbing rate in the United States which is about the same as that of the United Kingdom. Australia, as a small nation of some 14 million people, is trying to harness a great opportunity in relation to minerals and resources and is not doing too badly.
In an economic climate dictated to by interest rates, in spite of the recent increases in interest rates when compared with figures of other countries ours are well worth mentioning. During the last 12 months the Australian prime borrowing rate has increased by 1.5 per cent. The Government has been strongly criticised but this 1.5 per cent increase compares favourably with the 2.25 per cent rise in interest rates in West Germany which is often put forward as the model of economic stability. The rise of 1.5 per cent also compares favourably with the 3 per cent rise in the United Kingdom, and the 4.7 per cent rise in Japan which is also a great manufacturing nation with a history of a fairly stable economy. Interest rates in Canada have increased by 5.5 per cent and there has been a jump of 8.5 per cent in the United States. I suggest that a rise of 1.5 per cent in Australia is not so bad when compared with rises in the rest of the world. In that regard it adds force to what I have been saying in relation to our own economic situation. It is a very stable one and it is recovering. We have only to look at the prime interest rate on housing loans which, under a Labor government, rose from 7 per cent to 10 per cent within three years. I believe that 10 per cent is still applicable today under this Government. If the figure is not 10 per cent then there has been only a small increase of 0.5 per cent. If the figure of 10 per cent still applies it means that there has been no rise in interest rates in the last 4V£ years. I will leave that figure to speak for itself.
The Opposition’s amendment refers also to a reduction in the standard of living. Every time something happens the Opposition infers that it affects the standard of living. I suggest to the honourable member for Gellibrand (Mr Willis) that he should look around his electorate as I have had a look around mine and ask whether people are worse off today than they were 4V4 years ago when this Government came to office. In considering the standard of living I want to mention four categories of people in Australiayouth, pensioners, employers and employees. Of course, the youth of Australia are no worse off now. This Government has introduced a family allowance which I think is of great benefit to the families of Australia so far as the ongoing education and living requirements of youth are concerned. I think it was acknowledged by the honourable member for Gellibrand that the introduction of the family allowance was a great initiative. It took the place of a taxation dependency claim which would have been indexed. I do feel that possibly the family allowance now could be subject to indexation so as to catch up with the inflation rate, but the youth of this country are no worse off.
The tax threat which the pensioners faced when this Government came to office at the end of 1975 has been largely removed by the fact that the zero tax ceiling now allows any pensioner or people on small incomes to earn $75 a week before tax commences. That tax threat which existed for pensioners no longer exists. There has been indexation of pensions to conform with the inflation rate thereby protecting pensioners’ standard of living. The health benefit card, as has already been mentioned, is now available to pensioners on higher incomes than applied when we took office. I understand that in every respect the pensioners are enjoying a higher standard of living. It is as good as it was or perhaps better than it was, with less threat from taxation. Pensions are now being protected by indexation. This was not so in 1975. I think we should remember that the Labor Government was not prepared to introduce indexation of pensions, yet the Opposition has stated in its amendment that living standards are decreasing.
There are more people in employment today. I understand that about 150,000 to 160,000 more Australians are in jobs now than were employed 12 months ago. Every time a person is put into a permanent job it naturally increases the living standards. This is possibly an area where we could digress. It is a short term view and a fallacy to suggest that employment within the public sector- the Public Service- is a means of economic recovery. The cost which has to be borne by all Australians as taxpayers is greater than the relief granted through the creation of those permanent jobs. It is much better if we can put these 150,000 or 160,000 people a year into permanent jobs in the private sector where they will create jobs for other people. In fact, the multiplier in the private sector must be many times greater than what it would be in the public sector, where it would be a negative figure.
This Government has given to employers by way of the investment allowance, taxation incentives so that they can develop and keep their businesses going. Division 7 of the Income Tax Assessment Act now provides tourist industry encouragement. Business persons are thus given more opportunities of employment to help the recovery of the economy. In fact, I ask members of the Opposition to look around them and see whether people are worse off. Try to get an immediate seat on an aircraft these days. You will find that you cannot get it because more people are travelling. I would suggest that this indicates a better standard of living for people than they have had in the past. Cars and other luxuries of life do not seem to be denied any more than they were 10 years ago. The present economic situation has not reduced the standard of living of any people of Australia. As I said before, I think the Australian economy stands up well in comparison with the economies of the rest of the world.
Another aspect which should be taken into account in connection with the standard of living is taxation equity. I understand that many people who are experiencing decreasing standards of living can pin-point this to the taxation system which we have inherited and which we seem to amend in a patchwork way just to relieve the immediate problems. In order to provide greater equity and a better standard of living to Australians, the taxation system should give proper recognition to the spouse rebate so that single income families can have the same benefits as double income families. I would suggest that equity will not be given in this situation until the spouse rebate is sufficient to give the single income family where the mother stays at home to raise the family, to protect it and to maintain moral standards of which we would be proud the equivalent of two zero ceilings for the dual income family.
The self-employed should not be denied superannuation benefits which are given to every public servant and every parliamentarian in this building. It must be of some degree of consternation to the people in private enterprise, both employees and employers, to realise that they are denied the great benefits that are given to Public Service employees and parliamentarians as far as superannuation is concerned. Taxation equity demands that we should give the selfemployed the same superannuation benefits as we give public servants and parliamentarians. Another inequity was dealt with in the taxation legislation recently before this House. I refer to the taxation of housing rentals in certain industries, as dealt with in section 26aaaa. I agree that everybody must be treated equally as far as fringe benefits are concerned, but in many cases people are paying only because of their job situation, because of a transfer and so on. Many of the people who are subsidised as far as housing rental is concerned own a permanent home in Australia which is rented out. That rental is taxable but the rental paid on their own houses is not. I think that there should be some offsetting influence in this regard. One of the greatest inequities within the taxation system is that if one owes the Taxation Office money there is always a penalty or a 1 0 per cent rate of interest. If it is fair enough to impose that type of penalty on our taxpayers, any difficulties created by the Taxation Office which result in an overdue refund not being paid should also attract a similar amount of interest. In conformity with the fact that a taxation penalty is not a taxation deduction, the interest which is paid on the overdue account should not in itself attract taxation.
I want to mention now a matter which has already been raised. I refer to the oil pricing policies of the Government. The factor which will make our standard of living decline even further within the next decade will not be the economy, interest rates, foreign investment or wages. It will be whether Australia can cope with the challenge of the energy crisis. If Australia does not cope with that, by the end of the decade Australians will be going back to the standards that they might have thought they enjoyed in the 1930s and 1940s- that is, riding around on pushbikes or horses. It is important that we look at this situation realistically as Australians. Our ability to keep industry going, to commute and to do things like that as ordinary citizens depends on this policy.
The Opposition has made a great feature of the Government’s policy on oil pricing. I have no hesitation in saying that I have supported the policy in the past because it is the only guarantee that we can give the people of Australia that there will be oil in the future. Whilst the policy has meant an increase in the cost of fuel in Australia, particularly over the last 12 months, fuel prices in Australia are still the third lowest in the world and are no dearer in comparison to the average in Australia than was the case in the 1940s and 1950s. The recent price increase was as a result of the increase in the price of Saudi Arabian crude from $14 a barrel, as it was 12 months ago, to $24 a barrel today. These are still the cheapest prices on which to base the oil parity price as far as import prices are concerned. When we look at the price of $24 a barrel, I think it is important for us to realise that spot prices on the world markets are at present between $35 and $40 a barrel and now account for some 20 per cent of the world trade in oil.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– Before the suspension of the sitting I was speaking about the energy situation. If the oil pricing mechanism we are currently following is allowed to continue it will not assist in the supply of fuel from Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries irrespective of the political fluctuations in those countries. Of course, we all realise that they are fairly violent fluctuations. If the prices increase dramatically as they did at one stage in the past 12 months and they reflect on industry and on the essential users in Australia- I am referring to the possible fluctuations in price because of the political situation within the OPEC countries- then the prices will be reflected in the cost of goods produced by Australian industries.
I feel that we have achieved the purpose of making alternatives viable. According to figures available to me ethanol now becomes a marketable proposition on-farm. Ethanol is certainly a marketable prospect if it costs 50c a litre at the bowser. Shale oil is now regarded as an economic alternative. The price of $24.77 a barrel guarantees that. Perhaps we ought to look at an alternative pricing mechanism. The Government’s world oil parity pricing policy is absolutely essential. For those who might feel that a Labor Government has something better to offer I suggest that they should look at the Austraiian Labor Party’s platform in relation to this matter. If the Labor Party were to gain office there would not be any turn back in the retail price of petrol. It would impose indexation.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr MillarOrder! The honourable member’s time has expired.
-The people of Australia will soon have to suffer the effects of another Budget brought down by the Fraser Government. The last four Budgets of this Government have reduced the spending power and the living standards of the Australian people by about $4,000m. Major cuts have been made in spending on public health, public education, public housing, welfare programs, services for
Aborigines and immigrants and the protection of the environment. As a result, there is increasing unemployment in this country, increasing poverty and increasing neglect of the basic needs of the majority of the Australian people. The last four Budgets of this Government have been used to increase public assistance to large private companies, especially to the relatively few large companies to which I will refer as the corporate sector. I should like to clearly identify this corporate sector. About 200,000 companies actually make out taxation returns each year in the private sector. Less than 400 of these companiesless than one-fifth of one per cent of all companies- earn far in excess of 50 per cent of total company profit. This is what we call the corporate sector. An enormous amount of wealth has been transferred to that sector under this Administration. The total value of taxation concessions, additional subsidies and incentives to these companies over the last four years has been in excess of $4,000m.
In other words, the Government takes from the many and transfers it to the few. That is the whole philosophy of this Government. It has not followed the so-called Liberal philosophy of looking after small business. In fact, it represents the corporate sector, the wealthy, the very few. As a result, many companies have increased their productivity and have made record profits. In 1979 four out of five companies reported increased profits and two out of five companies increased their profits by more than 50 per cent. I stress the words ‘more than 50 per cent’. In March this year the Treasurer (Mr Howard) told us that 36 per cent of these profits was sent overseas. The level of company income payable abroad is increasing because the extent of foreign control of industry in Australia is increasing. This is a fact that this Government has foolishly tried to hide by suppressing the foreign control statistics made available to this Parliament and by cynically declaring a major Britishowned corporation, such as Conzinc Riotinto of Australia Ltd, to be naturalised as an Australian company. We know that it is more than 70 per cent owned by the Rio Tinto Zinc Corporation of the United Kingdom. The benefits to these companies have been made in large part at the expense of the majority of the Australian people.
The corporate sector has made huge profits because of the concessions and subsidies provided by the Government. Productivity has increased by about 10 per cent since the last national productivity case in 1973 because of the incentives provided by this Government to encourage companies to replace their workers by machines. I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard a statement prepared by the Parliamentary Library Legislative Research Service which sets out the amount of Federal Government assistance given to the manufacturing industry since 1975.
The document read as follows-
COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE TO INDUSTRY SINCE 1975
1 ) Bounties
Shipbuilding assistance: Assistance is currently payable in respect of the construction of vessels in Australia following a case-by-case examination by the Australian Shipbuilding Board. Assistance for new shipbuilding contracts is provided under the Ship Constuction Bounty Act 1975 as a direct bounty to shipbuilders. The bounty level was 35 per cent at the beginning of 1976-77 and has since been reduced at the rate of 2 per cent per annum with a projected level of 25 per cent by December 1 980.
Assistance provided: 1975- 76-$43m 1976- 77-$29m 1977- 78-$15.2m 1978- 79-$ 11.6m 1979- 80-$ 12.6m (estimate)
Note: The assistance levels were boosted considerably in 1975-76 and 1976-77 but only slightly in later years by payments granted under a support scheme which existed prior to the bounty legislation in June 1 975.
Book bounty: Under the Bounty (Book) Act 1969 a bounty was paid at the rate of 3314 per cent of the cost of production of eligible books manufactured in Australia.
The original Act expired in December 1979 but has been extended with some modifications, such as phasing the rate to 25 per cent by January 1984, for a further seven years.
Assistance provided: 1975- 76-$6.7m 1 976- 77 -$8.0m 1977- 78-$9.5m 1 978- 79-$ 12.5m 1 979- 80-$ 1 3.8m (estimate)
Agricultural tractors bounty: Under the Bounty (Agricultural Tractors) Act 1966 assistance is payable to eligible producers of certain agricultural wheeled tractors. The basis for payment was altered on 1 January 1 977 and rates of bounty now payable are indexed quarterly and are subject to local content provisions. The rates currently range from $8 1 1 to $5,483 per tractor depending on the power of the tractor.
Assistance provided: 1975- 76-$3.6m 1976- 77-$4.9m 1977- 78-$5.7m 1978- 79-$5.5m 1979- 80-$5.5m (estimate)
Machine tools bounty: Following a review by the Industries Assistance Commission it was decided to extend bounty assistance from 1 July 1979 to 30 June 1984. The bounty rate is 33 Vs per cent of factory cost. In addition a bounty, at the rate of 25 per cent of design costs incurred in Australia is payable.
Assistance provided: 1975-76-$1.6m 1976- 77-$2.4m 1977- 78-$4.0m 1978- 79-$7.1m 1979- 80-$10.0m (estimate)
Heavy commercial vehicles bounty: In 1978-79 the Government introduced a bounty payable to assemblers of certain general purpose vehicles, including buses. The bounty is payable on prescribed components used in the production of those vehicles. The bounty rate is 20 per cent of the into-store value of those components.
Assistance provided: 1978-79-$2.4m 1979-80-$6.0m (estimate)
Paper: Manufacturers of certain types of paper both coated and uncoated are to receive a bounty.
Assistance provided: 1979-80-$2.5m (estimate)
Injection moulding equipment: Manufacturers are to receive a bounty at the rate of 45 per cent of value added. This rate will be reduced by 10 percentage points for each of the 5 years the bounty is to exist.
Assistance provided: 1979-80-$1.35m (estimate)
viii) Bed sheeting bounty:
Maximum assistance: 1977- 78-$0.5m 1978- 79-$0.6m 1979- 80-$0.6m (estimate)
Automatic data processing equipment bounty:
Assistance provided: 1977- 78-$0.6m 1978- 79-$0.7m 1979- 80-$1.5m (estimate)
Polyester-Cotton yarn bounty:
1979- 80-$0.6m (estimate)
Dental alloy bounty operated from 22 December 1978 to 21 December 1979 and assistance in 1979-80 is estimated at $36,000.
Rotary cultivators bounty was introduced on 5 February 1 979. Estimated assistance in 1 979-80 is $60,000.
Drilling bits bounty was introduced on 1 October 1979 and the maximum amount available in any one year is $150,000 although initial payments are expected to be lower than this.
Refined tin bounty was introduced on 1 January 1 980 and is at the rate of $50 per tonne. Estimated assistance in 1979-80 is $65,000.
Penicillin bounties were introduced in 1980 and assistance is as follows:
Penicillin G- $29 per kilogram with a maximum of $250,000 in any one year.
Penicillin V- $38 per kilogram with a maximum of $650,000 in any one year.
) Export Incentives
The Export Expansion Grants Scheme has operated since 1 July 1977. In general, payments are based on increases in the value of exports of eligible goods and services in the grant year over the average value for the previous 3 years.
Payments in respect of the 1977-78 grant year are estimated at $130m, of which $20m was paid in 1978-79. $107m is provided in the 1979-80 Budget to meet outstanding claims from 1 977-78 and pan of claims for 1 978-79.
Export Market Development Grants. It was announced in 1 978-79 that this scheme would be extensively changed to include the tourist industry and to simplify administration. Payments in 1978-79 were $38m but related to the previous scheme. Payments in 1 979-80 are estimated to be $45 m.
Export and trade promotion:
Assistance provided: 1975- 76-$ 14.6m 1976- 77-$ 16.1m 1977- 78-$ 17.3m 1978- 79-$20.9m 1979- 80-$22.6m (estimate)
These figures include promotion of trade in all types of products and not simply manufactured goods.
) Research and Development
Industrial research and development. The Industrial Research and Development Incentives Act 1976 became effective on 1 July 1 976 and replaced the Industrial Research and Development Grants Act 1 967.
Assistance to industrial research and development through the Industrial Research and Development Grants Act 1967: 1975- 76-$19.3m 1976- 77-$ 15.4m 1977- 78-$8m
The Industrial Research and Development Incentives Act 1 976 provided for selective project grants together with commencement encouragement grants. It is more selective and less complicated than the previous scheme. This Act was itself amended in 1978 to increase the maximum grant rates for commencement and specific project grants from 25 per cent to 50 per cent. The maximum annual grant payable to an individual company was also increased to $25,000 for commencement grants and $500,000 for project grants.
Assistance to industrial research and development through the Industrial Research and Development Incentives Act 1 976: 1976- 77- nil 1977- 78-$5.7m 1978- 79-$24m 1 979- 80-$32m (estimate)
Energy research. Funds are made available to assist energy research, development and demonstration.
Assistance provided: 1978- 79-$4m 1 979- 80-$9. 1 m (estimate)
Institutions that promote and assist industry
The Australian Industry Development Corporation seeks broadly to help finance the development and growth of Australian private enterprise in areas of activity concerned with the manufacture, processing, treatment, transportation or distribution of goods, or the development or use of natural resources or of technology, and to secure Australian participation in the ownership and control of companies engaged in such activities.
The Corporation’s paid up capital was increased to $62.5m by payment from the Government of $12. 5m in 1976-77.
The Export Finance and Insurance Corporation provides export credit insurance and guarantee facilities, insurance cover for direct investment overseas against noncommercial risks and, where necessary, export finance for medium and long term credit sales of capital goods. Since July 1976 the Corporation’s export finance facility has borrowed from the trading banks at commercial rates of interest and on-lent these funds at concessional rates. The difference is met by a Government subsidy.
EFIC’s guarantee facilities were expanded in 1978 allowing it to offer tender and performance guarantees.
Assistance provided: 1975- 76-$2.9m 1976- 77-$0.6m 1977- 78-$0.5m 1978- 79-$1.5m 1979- 80-$2.6m (estimate)
The Commonwealth Development Bank has since June 1978 been able to lend to all kinds of business rather than just to rural, industrial and tourism sectors.
Other assistance is provided for specific industry projects such as $3. 7m in 1 979-80 for the development of the INTERSCAN microwave landing scheme.
Assistance is also provided to programs or bodies that promote industry. In 1 979-80 the programs assisted included:
Project Australia’- $1.5m
Productivity Improvement Programs- $ 1. 1 5m
Productivity Action Program- $0.2m
Industrial Design Council of Australia- $0.4m
Committee of Inquiry into Technological Change$0.3m
Australian Overseas Projects Corporation which was established in 1978-79 to help Australian industry to compete for large scale development projects overseas received $1.0m capital in both 1978-79 and 1979-80.
II Industry assistance through the taxation system
A considerable amount of assistance to industry has been and still is provided through special taxation concessions. Such concessions result in the reduction of, or delay in receipt of, Commonwealth revenue (and a corresponding increase in the funds available to the recipients). They are in fact as much a call on the Budget as equivalent direct outlays would be, and for this reason have sometimes been described as disguised assistance. Assistance of this type through the taxation system has been provided mainly by way of income tax concessions which permit firms and individuals to make deductions from their assessable income additional to those authorised under the general provisions of the income tax law. Assistance has also come from changes in tax rates.
The main taxation concession schemes introduced since 1 July 1975 to assist industry are:
Investment allowance: a general investment allowance of 40 per cent of the cost of certain plant was applied to plant ordered between 1 January 1976 and 30 June 1978. This scheme, in comparison to the scheme which expired in August 1 973, increased the types of eligible plant and included leased plant. Plant ordered in the period 1 July 1978 to 30 June 1985 is subject to an investment allowance of 20 per cent of its cost.
The value of the assistance afforded through the investment allowance to manufacturing industry has been: 1975- 76-$23m 1976- 77-$ 105m* 1977- 78-$325m* 1978- 79-$368m*
- This assistance includes the value of the investment allowance to primary industry which would, however, not be significant.
Double depreciation: taxpayers who installed plant (for manufacturing or primary production) between 1 July 1974 and 30 June 1975, which would have been eligible for the investment allowance under Sections 62AA and 62AB if it had not been discontinued, were allowed to depeciate their plant at twice the normal rate. Double depreciation applied to a wider range of plant and equipment installed between 1 July 1975 and 30 June 1976. Normal depreciation rates apply in respect of plant first used or installed after 30 June 1976.
Estimated value of double depreciation to manufacturing and primary industry: 1975- 76 $20m 1976- 77 $50m 1977- 78$ 110m* 1978- 79 $80m*
- These figures include the value of special rates of depreciation on plant used for scientific research.
It is worth noting that between 1 January 1976 and 30 June 1976 both the investment allowance and double depreciation were operative providing substantial benefits to firms investing in new plant.
Trading stock valuation adjustment: this was a scheme allowing the cost of goods sold to be increased by a prescribed percentage. The prescribed percentage was based on half the percentage increase in the goods component of the Consumer Price Index between the June quarter prior to the year of income and the June quarter of the year of income and was applied to the value of the trading stock at the commencement of the year. The trading stock valuation adjustment scheme operated during the 1977-78 and 1978-79 financial years.
Estimated value to industry of the trading stock valuation adjustment scheme: 1977- 78 $316m 1 978- 79 $236m
Changes in tax rates
The 1978-79 Budget announced the reduction of sales tax on cars from 27½ per cent to 15 per cent. It was estimated that this measure would reduce revenue by $ 196m in a year. Undoubtedly some benefits would accrue to the motor vehicle industry as a result of lower vehicle prices and hence increased demand.
Coal export duties have been progressively reduced with the most recent reduction being on high quality coking coal. The levy will be reduced, from $3.50 per tonne to $1.00 per tonne, for open cut operations and major expansions of such operations commencing production after 30 June 1980. This measure will cost approximately $ 1 9m p.a.
Total revenue from the coal levy has declined from $ 1 12m in 1975-76 to the estimated revenue of $94m in 1979-80. However revenue forgone is substantially higher due to increased production levels. For example the reduced rates were estimated to cost the Government $37m in 1976-77 and $27m in 1977-78.
The retention allowance, which is the percentage of taxable income that may be retained by private companies, was increased from 50 per cent to 60 per cent in 1 976.
The allowance was further increased from 60 to 70 per cent in respect of incomes from 1978-79 and subsequent years. This latter change has been estimated to cost approximately $30m in a full year.
Shareholders of private companies will benefit in that more profits will be able to be retained within the company and will not be subject to taxation upon distribution as dividends.
Depreciation of traveller accommodation at the rate of 2Vi per cent p.a. will be allowed on buildings with at least 10 rooms commenced after 21 August 1979. This measure will stimulate the tourist industry but as yet no cost estimates are available.
III Industry assistance through labour and employment structure
Industry receives assistance, often indirectly through schemes designed to promote employment levels and employee skills.
Apprenticeship training: On 1 5 January 1 977 the Commonwealth Rebate for Apprenticeship Full-Time Training (CRAFT) scheme replace the National Apprenticeship Assistance Scheme (NAAS). CRAFT includes direct payments to employers who release apprentices for training in addition to payments directly to the apprentice. The latter payment is obviously a more indirect form of industry assistance.
Assistance provided: 1975- 76-$37.6m 1976- 77-$43.8m 1977- 78-$32.6m 1978- 79-$28.4m 1979- 80-$54.3m (estimate)
Employment training schemes: The National Employment and Training System (NEAT) provides allowances to individuals undertaking training and to employers who provide on or off the job training.
Some funds are also provided for education programs for unemployed youth and for industry and commerce training programs.
The exact benefit to industry of employment training programs cannot be measured as many recipients of assistance would be from other sectors of the economy not included in this paper and payments to employees constitutes an indirect benefit.
Total assistance provided: 1975- 76-$41.0m 1976- 77-$32.9m 1977- 78-$87.4m 1978- 79-$122.4m 1979- 80-$74.4m (estimate)
IV Assistance provided by tariffs and quotas
Tariffs and quotas provide considerable assistance to industry, particularly the manufacturing sector, by restricting competition from overseas producers.
The initial approach of the Liberal-NCP Government after its election in 197S was the maintenance of a high protectionist policy. This is demonstrated by the introduction of many new quotas on textiles and clothing in 1976 and 1977. However since 1975-76 protection to industry through tariffs and quotas has actually decreased.* This reflects the acceptance by the Government of many Industries Assistance Commission (IAC) reports (for example the whitegoods and tyre industry reports) recommending long term reductions in levels of assistance. There has also been a trend to use bounties and export incentives, as recommended by the IAC, instead of tariffs and quotas to maintain assistance in the short term. The value of these measures has been discussed above.
- IAC Annual Report 1978-79. Appendix 1.3 states that effective rates of protection fell 3 percentage points over two years as a result of tariff reductions in January 1977.
-I thank the House. This statement shows only a part of the total assistance provided to the corporate sector to enable firms to rationalise their operations in the light of major structural changes occurring in the Australian economy. It shows only a small part of the total transference of wealth away from the people to the corporate sector for which this Government has been responsible. It does not show the massive amounts of assistance, tax concessions and subsidies given to the big mining companies. It does not show the huge outlays on physical and social infrastructure and the huge public subsidies of electricity supplies to the five foreign controlled aluminium companies provided by the various State governments. It does not show, for example, that since 1975-76 the incomes of the oil producers, the oil companies, have trebled under this Government from $360m in 1975 to $975m in 1979-80 as a result of the Government’s oil pricing policy. Yet, the cost of petrol to the ordinary user increased from 77c a gallon in November 1975 to $1.52 a gallon in March 1980.
We have to ask why such massive public assistance to corporations is necessary especially when many of them are flush with funds. Their funds are overflowing, overbrimming. For example, the world’s two largest industrial corporations, Exxon- known as Esso in this country- and the General Motors company, both of which operate in Australia, together have a sales volume greater than the Australian gross domestic product. Imagine, two private companies have a greater wealth than the whole of the Australian gross domestic product. Those companies are more powerful than many countries. Australia is a middle power today. That is an example of the enormous power that those companies have. The answer to the question I put earlier is that the Government believes that Australia has to integrate into the world economy that these corporations largely control. For the sake of these corporations and for the sake of a few big Australian corporations that have hitched their chariots to the corporate stars this Government is prepared to make the people of Australia pay the price of the adjustments they demand. The adjustments that workers and small manufacturers are told to make are being forced on us in Australia because of the major reorientation of our economic base.
The Crawford report on structural adjustment tabled over a year ago in this Parliament but, I might say, ironically not yet debated- the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) was allowed to make a statement on it but it was not discussed in this House- estimated a total stock of resource based projects valued at $26 billion. The Department of Industry and Commerce has announced that investment in major resource projects committed or at final feasibility study stage amounts to $16 billion. These projects are mostly for mining and energy development and for integrated aluminium processing, petrochemical production and for a few other capital and energy intensive projects. The Department has estimated that the volume of mineral exports will increase by 94 per cent- from $1.9 billion a year now to $3.7 billion a year in 1985. With over $1 billion of public expenditure being spent on power stations to provide electricity to aluminium smelters, the Department has estimated that the total investment in aluminium gives a volume of capital expenditure approximating the total accumulated gross fixed private expenditure in the mining industry in the boom years of the late 1960s. The Department of Industry and Commerce estimates that this massive investment will create only- I stress these figures -6,000 additional permanent jobs and 7,000 temporary construction jobs at the respective peaks of the construction phases of the plants. Using the maximum multiplier of four, the Department has projected a total increase of 24,000 jobs throughout Australia by 1985, requiring about a $760,000 investment for each additional job. It is capital substitution, it is not creating jobs for people. The Industries Assistance Commission has estimated a possible three-fold increase in all sector exports by 1990. It calculates a total addition of 380,000 jobs throughout Australia as a result of that massive growth in exports.
But in its submission to the Crawford study group, the then Department of Employment and Industrial Relations estimated that a labour force growth of 1 10,000 a year would require the provision of an extra 1 30,000 new jobs each year to 1985 to get unemployment down to 4.5 per cent. On the basis of that Department’s figures, 1.3 million new jobs would have to be provided by 1990 to get unemployment down to 4.5 per cent. The IAC estimate is only 38 per cent of the number of jobs needed. But the IAC has not taken account of the loss of jobs resulting from the large increase in manufactured imports that the increase in exports will require and has used multipliers for the service sector that pre-date the rapid introduction of labour displacing technology. If those factors were taken into account in the IAC model, we would see that in spite of a three-fold increase in exports there would be no net addition to employment after 10 years and that by the end of this decade we would have a permanent level of unemployment in the order of 15 per cent with over 25 per cent of the work force being employed part-time. Mr Deputy Speaker, as evidence of this fact I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard a table showing the figures set out in the IAC annual report of 1978-79.
The table read as follows-
-I thank the House. The growth of resource development for export as the major direction for the Australian economy is being pursued by large transnational corporations which see that, while the price of electricity for heavy industry per kilowatt hour is 8c in Japan, 4c in Europe and 3c in the United States of America, it is only 1½c in Australia- less than 20 per cent of the price paid in Japan. When those corporations make the State governments compete to attract their investment, they find that Alcan can get its electricity from the Victorian Government for 1.2c per kilowatt hour and that Comalco Ltd can get its electricity in your State of Queensland, Mr Deputy Speaker, for 0.5c per kilowatt hour. Australian domestic users, on average, pay 3.5c per kilowatt hour. The Crawford report identified the consequences of this kind of restructuring. It said:
Many firms will have to undertake new pursuits. Some businesses will close. It is possible that in other firms a significant number of employees will lose their jobs. Some will have to move to another place of residence.
In the last four years we have seen those consequences in action. In an attempt to survive, the larger firms have used their profits to take over smaller firms. Since December 1975, 174 complete takeovers have been registered on the Sydney Stock Exchange, some of them the largest in Australia’s history and most of them involving increased levels of foreign ownership. Over 300 firms operating in Australia have moved all or part of their activities overseas. Hundreds of other firms have gone bankrupt. For example, there have been over 150 closures of textile establishments in Australia since 1973. The remaining firms have been encouraged by the Government to specialise in a smaller range of products, to replace workers with machines and computers and, increasingly, robots, or to diversify their activities out of manufacturing. This is the sorry situation at present. The result is high and increasing unemployment of the order of 700,000, if the official unemployed and those persons not in the labour force who have given up looking for jobs that now do not really exist are properly counted. The result is increasing productivity as a result of capital substitution and increasing corporate profit.
But what happens to the working people, the young people looking for jobs and the older people displaced by the plant closures and by technology? The Crawford report suggests that they have to learn to be more flexible. They have to suffer wage and income reductions. They have to work fewer hours for less pay. They have to move to where the jobs are. They have to reexamine their work ethic. The working people are being told that they have to pay the real costs of adjustment so that company profits- one-third of which go out of the country- can be increased. It is not surprising that the workers are beginning to organise and to question whether there are more equitable ways of making the adjustments and a fairer distribution of the benefits. Many are also questioning whether there are better ways of restructuring our economy than merely falling in behind the demands of the corporate sector. They are questioning whether we could maintain a viable and diverse manufacturing base; whether we could plan and regulate the pace of resource development, export and introduction of technology and whether we could make more socially useful products than those the corporate managers decide we should consume.
In the last four years, many unions have been confused and frustrated about how to respond to the rapid changes now taking place. In the last few months some profound developments have been made within the union movement. The 35-hour week campaign is one example of the new solidarity that is building within the labour movement. That campaign has brought together a number of unions which in the past have acted in isolation. The unions have taken action in the interests of providing job security and income security for their members. Those unions are concerned about not only protecting the jobs of their own members who are threatened with insecurity but also about the social impact of the kind of economic course that is now being rapidly pursued. They are concerned about security of employment during Australia’s future growth. They are concerned about the kind of work that people will be required to do and the kind of product that will be made. They are concerned about the way in which wealth is being inequitably distributed in our society.
The 35-hour week campaign is a major and confident step forward by the labour movement. It is a creative and socially responsible campaign. The process of the campaign is in many ways more important than its product. There may be compromises along the way. We may see a gradual phasing in of a 35-hour week through a 37-hour week as a first step. I might say that many white collar workers and unions already enjoy such hours. The important thing is that the unionists at the rank and file level are demanding, through mass meetings, that their unions become active in raising the question of structural change within the Australian community.
A reduction of working hours without loss of pay is one means of gaining a fairer distribution of the benefits of increased productivity to which the workers have contributed through their labour and their taxation payments. A 35-hour week will allow greater opportunity for our society to provide employment for more people in a more equitable way. No Australian government, no political party, has yet developed an adequate response to the problems confronting our society as a result of rapid structural change and the introduction of new technology.
The Australian Labor Party and its elected representatives need to understand the problems confronting working people. Together we need to identify a broad-based response to these problems. There will be a major struggle in the industrial arena and eventually this will involve the process of arbitration. This Government has endeavoured to tip the balance of forces through the repressive and intimidatory industrial legislation that it has passed in the last four years. It has acted to further the bias in the arbitration process in favour of the employer and against the worker; but the solidarity of the union movement in the 35-hour campaign shows that the workers will not be intimidated; that in the end it will be they themselves who will determine whether a 35-hour week is to be achieved.
Order! The honourable member’s time has expired. The original question was, ‘That this Bill be now read a second time’, to which the honourable member for Gellibrand (Mr Willis) moved as an amendment that all words after that’ be omitted with a view to substituting other words. The immediate question is that the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question.
– Does this mean that Government members have run out of -
-Order! The honourable member will resume his seat.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
- Mr Deputy Speaker -
– It is an arrangement and you know it. Sit down.
-The honourable member for Wills will resume his seat.
– I rose to speak.
-Does the honourable member wish to speak to a point of order?
– Yes. I rose to speak.
-The honourable member for Wills was not occupying his proper place when I put the question.
– That is not correct, Mr Deputy Speaker. I would just like to record my deep disappointment at this and at the Government’s silence. It is not even prepared to defend itself.
-The honourable member for Wills has made his point. The Chair insists that the honourable member was not in his proper place when the question was put. The question now is that the Bill be read a second time.
– Is this on the amendment?
-The amendment has been put. The question that the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question was put and determined on the voices in the affirmative.
– We regret that. I want to make the point that we would have divided on the amendment but because of the confusion during the discussion between the honourable member and the Chair we omitted to do so.
-The remarks of the honourable member for Reid are noted. The event can of course be laid at the feet of his colleague.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
-In accordance with the Standing Orders I ask that my dissent be recorded.
-The remarks of the honourable member for Wills are noted.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Motion (by Mr Thomson) proposed:
That the Bill be now read a third time.
-In addressing myself to this piece of legislation I want to point out first of all the total importance -
Motion ( by Mr Sainsbury) proposed:
That the question be now put.
-The honourable member is not in a position to put the motion. He is not occupying his proper place.
– I do not want to divide the House -
-The honourable member for Reid is not free to address the House without the call.
Motion (by Mr Graham) put:
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Mr Deputy Speaker-Mr P. C. Millar)
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Consideration resumed from 22 April, on motion by Mr Eric Robinson:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Thomson) read a third time.
Motion (by Mr Thomson) proposed:
That Orders of the Day Nos 3 and 4, Government Business, be postponed until a later hour this day.
– I would like to remind the House that this is just another demonstration of the incompetence of this Government in managing its own affairs. The schools Bills have been on the Notice Paper for some time and honourable members are ready to debate them. I have no doubt that the Government will try to bring on the debate tomorrow when the proceedings of the House are not broadcast so that it can obscure the mischief that is being done to the government schools of Australia. As far as I am concerned, it is a long while since this place has been in more incompetent hands.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 23 April, on motion by Mr Thomson:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
- Mr Deputy Speaker, may I have your indulgence to suggest that the House have a general debate covering this Bill, the Fisheries Amendment (Whale Protection) Bill 1980 and the Continental Shelf (Living Natural Resources) Amendment Bill 1980, as they are associated measures. Separate questions will, of course, be put on each of the Bills at the conclusion of the debate.
-Is it the wish of the House to have a general debate covering these three measures? There being no objection, I will allow that course to be followed.
-The three Bills before the Parliament are designed to provide for the preservation, conservation and protection of all cetaceans; that is, the great whales, beaked whales, pilot whales, killer whales, dolphins and porpoises.
-Kill them all.
– I hope that is in the record. That does not surprise me, coming from someone like the honourable member for Swan who spends most of his time talking about saving life but who, when he gets the opportunity, likes to kill it.
– Human life is what I am interested in. You save that.
-Order! The honourable member for Swan will remain silent.
-We will make sure that the people of Swan get the full text of the honourable member’s little speech.
– Order! The honourable member for Robertson will ignore interjections.
-The Whale Protection Bill gives legislative basis to the announcement by the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) last April to ban whaling in Australia, to press for a worldwide ban on whaling and to ban the importation of whales or whale products into Australia. The Fisheries Amendment (Whale Protection) Bill and the Continental Shelf (Living Natural Resources) Amendment Bill provide for the establishment of sanctuaries for whales in the Australian fishing zone for such purposes as protecting cetaceans in breeding areas and migratory pathways.
The Opposition supports this legislation as introduced into the House and believes it should be passed by the House. However, there are a number of points concerning this legislation which I feel need to be raised and discussed. Man has been hunting whales for over 2,000 years, but it is only in the last 200 years that technology and fishing have resulted in severe overexploitation of whale stocks. The slow moving right whales were decimated by whalers throughout the world during the 1800s and improved technology enabled other species, such as the blue whale, to suffer a similar fate in this century. As a result of whalers, five species of baleen whales are listed as endangered species and international trade of their products is prohibited by the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species. These five species- the blue whale, the sei whale, the right whales, the bowhead and Greenland right whale and the humpback whale- are prohibited imports under the Customs (Endangered Species) Regulations. Both the southern right whale and the humpback whale were hunted from Australian ports until their numbers were too low to continue operations and stations closed down. The right whale was exploited heavily during the early and mid 1880s so that it became extinct for commercial purposes by the late 1880s. The humpback fishery collapsed by the early 1960s so that by 1963 five or six shore-based whaling operations in Australia were forced to close down. The first inquiry into whaling states:
The history of whaling, particularly in the twentieth century, has been one of excessive exploitation followed by the economic collapse of whaling operations when whale populations dropped to very low levels, sometimes almost to the level of extinction.
Later in the report it is stated that the overall pattern of high exploitation followed by the economic collapse of the industry also applies to Australia. I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard the estimates of the original whale population and the estimate of present numbers up to 1 978.
The table read as follows-
-I am offended by the slaughter of such beautiful and intelligent creatures as whales. This is one of the most obscene acts that man can commit, particularly when it is solely for profit. Australia is pressing for a world-wide ban on whaling as well as banning such operations in Australian waters. The whaling industry has never shown itself capable of properly managing whale populations. Even the most recent steps taken by the International Whaling Commission are looked upon with scepticism by many. I would like to read from the report of the independent inquiry conducted by Sir Sydney Frost entitled ‘Whales and Whaling’. The report states:
Quotas are now shared between countries according to agreed formulas and the problem takes a different form. Unless all the major whaling nations co-operate on whale management, it is not to the advantage of any individual nation to do so. Countries are unwilling to stop whaling because they believe that if they leave the whales others will take them. This argument was presented to the Inquiry to support the continuation of Australian whaling. Whaling countries are also given an advantage, at least in the short term, by any increase in the overall quota (or by the smallest possible reduction in the quota) and this is reflected in continual pressure to keep quotas at the highest possible level.
The economics of the industry must also be considered, Dr C. Clark has pointed out that the rate of natural increase for whale stocks is between 3 and 8 per cent which is less than the return available from other capital investments. His conclusion is that it is more profitable to exploit whale stocks extensively until there are so few whales remaining that it becomes too expensive to hunt them, when it is best to stop whaling and invest the profits in some other enterprise. The implication for whale management is that there will always be economic pressure to set quotas as high as possible, rather than accept the New Management Procedure which aims to stabilise whale stocks at around 60 per cent of their initial populations and set quotas just less than the estimated maximum sustainable yield of each stock ( . . . ). The economic pressure is greater because quotas have been falling steadily since 1962 and most countries have a number of whaling vessels lying idle which were built as part of the rate to obtain the greatest share of the quota.
The effect of the closure of Cheynes Beach whaling station on the people of Albany should be looked at. Obviously the closure of a station which employs over 100 people will profoundly affect the economy of Albany. As I have said in previous speeches the Commonwealth Government, having taken a decision on behalf of the Australian community to phase out an industry, has a responsibility to provide the funds that are needed to establish new industries. An article which appeared in the West Australian of 18 November 1978 pointed out that Mr Marshall, the Regional Administrator of the Great Southern, was confident of Albany’s future. He maintained that a 3.3 per cent unemployment rate in Albany was amongst the lowest in the country. He said that there were good signs that other avenues were taking up some of the economic slack, that some 100 new jobs had been provided in the shopping centre and that a wet fish industry was still establishing itself and would be employing 1,000 people within a few years. He also pointed out that at that time the tourist industry was providing about 8 per cent of the workforce with jobs.
I suggest that the Australian Government should consider funding a whaling museum on the site of the whaling station. An Australian Labor Party government will consider very seriously establishing an interpretive centre in Albany to promote tourism and the appropriate use of the environment. I made my first visit to Albany in October 1978. 1 had no idea prior to the visit of the extraordinary beauty of the region. I say that in all seriousness. I think the scenery in that region is among the most exquisite I have seen in the world. It ranks with the scenery of Cape Town and parts of the Great Barrier Reef. It is just breathtaking. I recommend it to everyone. It is a place well worth seeing. The scenery is nothing short of sensational. It is obvious that the people of Albany are very conscious of the potential of the region for tourism. Down on the waterfront is a reproduction of an old style sailing ship which I think is called the Amity. I suspect that it is a reproduction of a ship that called at Albany some 100 years before.
– The first ship to arrive there.
-It is the first ship that arrived at Albany. So the history of this vessel goes back to 1829 which, is when Albany was first settled. In fact, if my recollection is correct, Albany celebrated its sesquicentenary one year before Western Australia.
– Two years.
-Well, it was not 1829. As I said, Albany has a magnificent replica of the first ship to arrive at its port. Just behind the ship is a first class maritime museum which is superbly designed and beautifully presented. The town itself is neat and attractive with enough interesting old buildings and examples of its early heritage to attract tourists.
Since the completion of the bitumen surface across the Nullarbor Plain the increase in tourism from the east has jumped some 30 per cent to 40 per cent. The tourist industry people in Western Australia told me that large numbers of eastern visitors now turn south from Kalgoorlie to Albany. No doubt this has had some effect in soaking up some of the unemployment created by the closure of the whaling station at Cheynes Beach. Albany, despite its geographical isolation from the major tourist routes, has so much to offer the tourist that if given some further assistance by way of man-made attractions, such as a whaling museum, it could well turn into a major tourist destination. I believe that is certainly possible with what the town has going for it. The people who lost their jobs in Albany as a result of the closure of the whaling station must be retrained so that they can live and work in Albany and need not go overseas to take up whaling again. It is the responsibility of the Government to see this happen.
The Fisheries Amendment (Whale Protection) Bill and the Continental Shelf (Living Natural Resources) Amendment Bill allow for the establishment of areas for whale sanctuaries and restrict the movement of shipping in these sanctuaries so as to avoid collision with breeding or migrating whales. Both Bills have provisions which allow for portions of the Australian fishing zone to be declared as sanctuaries and will regulate the fisheries and the taking of sedentary living organisms so as to protect and conserve whales. The establishment of sanctuaries is an essential part of the conservation of the species of whales or other cetaceans which have had their populations seriously depleted. Both Bills will amend the aim of the two principal Acts to ensure that whale protection will take precedence over the exploitation of marine living resources. Whale sanctuaries will be established for a number of reasons but mostly they will be in areas found to be used by whales for breeding purposes or as migratory routes. Both situations would result in a relatively large number of whales being concentrated in a small area of water at a specific time of the year. It would be best if shipping were restricted in the area to reduce the chances of accidental collision with whales. Therefore, fishing and other operations would cease for a set period in these specified areas.
The three Bills do not apply to the three-mile territorial sea off the States and the Northern Territory. Therefore it is essential that the States and the Northern Territory have legislation comparable to that of the Commonwealth, and at the moment they do not. In fact, in some States cetaceans are not fully protected. The Minister for Science and the Environment (Mr Thomson) in his second reading speech quoted the Prime Minister’s letter to the State Premiers and the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, which * stated: “The government sees merit in the development of a complementary legislation regime in the States and the Northern Territory for the protection of cetaceans. ‘
A complementary regime could be achieved by existing state legislation, perhaps with amendment, by new State legislation or by adoption of the Commonwealth’s legislation. The Government has in mind administrative arrangements similar to those established under the Commonwealth Fisheries Act.’
At present, under New South Wales, South Australian and Queensland legislation cetaceans are covered specifically by either a fisheries or a national parks and wildlife Act. The Frost inquiry report suggests that the definition of wildlife’ in the 1975 Wildlife Act of Victoria is sufficiently broad to include cetaceans. In Tasmania, whales are defined as fish and are covered by the Fisheries Act, which does not really offer full protection to cetaceans. Western Australia has a Wildlife Conservation Act which states that whales as wildlife are protected, but licences to take sperm whales were issued to the whaling station at Cheynes Beach. There is also a
Whaling Act, which covers baleen whales only. In the Northern Territory the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Ordinance does not preclude the taking of whales, according to the Chief Inspector of the Northern Territory, but according to the Frost inquiry, its definition of wildlife is broad enough to cover cetaceans.
It is obvious that not only must the States be consulted, as the Government’s new federalism policy espouses, but also that something concrete in terms of legislation must be worked out, and it must be done fairly quickly. We do not want to repeat the situation that has occurred with the ratification of the treaty with Japan for the protection of migratory birds and their environment. No one in the House could possibly be unaware of the ludicrous situation which has arisen with the treaty due to the Government’s asinine approach to Federal-State relations. The Migratory Birds Treaty was signed in 1974 and ratified in Japan that same year. In 1976 the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service drafted regulations under the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act 1975 so that Australia could ratify the Treaty. But the Government’s federalism policy reared its ugly head, and in September 1978 the Prime Minister wrote to all Premiers and to the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory inviting them to legislate for the implementation of the Australia-Japan Migratory Birds Agreement. It is now May 1980. State legislation has not been passed and the Treaty has not been ratified. I hope that by 1986 we shall see cetaceans fully protected, preserved and conserved in the three-mile territorial sea.
The States are obviously willing to co-operate on the question of whales, and there is a chance to establish uniform standards, Australia-wide, over a conservation issue. Such a chance must not be lost because of blind adherence to rhetoric, nor should the implication of uniform environmental legislation throughout Australia be lost on members of the House. We talk of protecting whales, and the Bill is known as the Whale Protection Bill, but it should be remembered that it covers all cetaceans, which means not just baleen whales and sperm whales but killer whales, dolphins, beaked whales, porpoises and pilot whales as well. Whilst to my knowledge none of these species is endangered in Australia and dolphins and porpoises are not hunted commercially, their destruction by fishermen, either because they interfere with nets or eat the fish, has come into the news in the past year. The Japanese fishermen’s slaughter of hundreds of dolphins, on the pretext that they ate fish the fishermen wanted to catch, raised cries of condemnation from all over the world. I believe that under this Bill such a slaughter would be forbidden in Australian waters.
However, I am concerned about accidental killing of porpoises and dolphins in fish netting operations. It has been claimed that tuna purseseine fishermen overseas are responsible for the deaths of many dolphins because they are caught in the seine and are killed so that they do not damage the nets. I am therefore worried about the application of clause 9, sub-clause 5, paragraph (c), of the Whale Protection Bill, which allows the killing of a cetacean by commercial fishermen if, firstly, it is unavoidable in the course of operations; and, secondly, it is reasonably necessary to avoid damage to a vessel or equipment used in those operations. I hope that there will be a strict interpretation of the clause to prevent casual killing of cetaceans by fishermen in the Australian fishing zone, whether they be Australian, Japanese, Taiwanese, or anybody else.
I now turn to the protection of the baleen whale and sperm whale. Extinction is forever, and the destruction of a species or a severe reduction in its population can have a marked effect on the ecosystem of which it is a part. When numbers of a whale species are severely reduced, its food source multiplies and is utilised by other species. Krill are shrimp-like creatures found in massive shoals in the waters of the Antarctic and are the food source of the baleen whales and numbers of other animals such as the crab-eater seal, fur seal, squid, penguins and fin fish. It has been suggested that the reduction in whales has allowed crab-eater seals and other species to. increase dramatically in numbers and that this may reduce or hinder the rate of recovery of whale populations. At the moment there is much interest in man utilising krill as a food source or as a source of fish meal for stock. Such a krill fishery could have serious implications for the long-term recovery of whales in the southern oceans.
An international conference concerning the marine living resources of Antarctica is being held in Canberra this week. The convention being considered at the conference will have a major impact on the long-term recovery of whales. I hope that this conference will achieve better results with Antarctica’s marine living resources than the International Whaling Commission has with the maintenance of whale stock. International co-operation can be achieved only with the goodwill of each of the countries involved. I cannot repeat too often that whaling has shown itself to be a self-destructive industry.
The whaling industry has approached whales as a resource to be exploited until it is unprofitable to do so, with the result that whale populations all over the world have been decimated and continue to be exploited. There may be a recovery of whale stock over the years, and we are obliged to assist this recovery. The three Bills before the Parliament are designed to achieve the conservation, preservation and protection of whales. In one of his rare unambiguous statements, the Prime Minister stated on 4 April 1979 that the Government upholds the central conclusion of the Frost Inquiry into Whales and Whaling, namely, that Australia should pursue a policy of opposition to whaling and that this policy should be pursued both domestically and internationally through the International Whaling Commission and other organisations. This statement commits Australia to total preservation, conservation and protection of cetaceans and, as a result, to total opposition to whaling anywhere in the world. Mr Deputy Speaker, I think it is most appropriate that in a debate on a whaling Bill you should be presiding over the House.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. J. D. M. Dobie)- The honourable member will keep to the subject. His flattery is noted, but he will keep to the subject of the Bill.
-In the Committee stage we will be concerned with one aspect of the Bill which has caused a great deal of worry and concern in the Labor Party. Penalties are provided for Australians normally domiciled in Australia who participate in whaling outside of this country in places where whaling is legal. I do not think I am giving away any secrets when I say that we went through a great deal of agony over this matter.
– If it is wrong, it is wrong.
– Yes, if it is wrong, it is wrong. Initially we discussed the pros and cons. Finally we came to the conclusion that we cannot Support a clause that makes it illegal in Australia to do something that is perfectly legal in another part of the world. The Opposition will be moving an amendment during the Committee stage of the Bill to oppose this clause.
– You are playing politics.
-No, we are not playing politics. On the contrary, we have given the matter a great deal of thought. My first reaction was that there are precedents such as the legislation which provides that Australians shall not be mercenaries abroad. There is the precedent set by the United States and New Zealand governments which have similar legislation making it a crime to kill whales even though their citizens may be in areas where it is perfectly legal to do so. After a great deal of discussion, it was our feeling that if a person doing something perfectly legal in another country came back here and found that what he was doing had been illegal under our legislation, it would be a gross infringement of civil rights. The honourable member for Canberra was quite wrong when he said that we are playing politics. We are not. In fact, I do not think there are any votes either way. For every vote that will be picked up on the question of civil rights, we will lose one vote on the question of protecting whales. The Labor Party felt quite strongly on the question of civil rights. This cannot be equated with mercenaries.
– That is national security. It is different.
– As the honourable member says, it is quite a different thing. Some of these cases could be quite accidental. The fine of $100,000 is not exactly light. It is all right for Australian vessels and crews to leave Australia and engage in these activities. But it would not be all right for an individual who goes to live in Japan or in another country, and who suddenly finds himself working on a whaling ship. We find such a clause obnoxious. So the Opposition will move an amendment to it. While we recognise that the Government’s intention is quite good here- we are not trying to score on this point- we are concerned that this could lead to a dangerous situation. The Opposition supports the three Bills.
– It is always interesting to follow the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen) in a debate. He usually puts forward a well reasoned argument. While there is much with which I disagree in what he has said tonight, he has put forward his own views and has stuck by them in a well reasoned manner which is one of the great attributes of the Australian Labor Party. I would like to agree with what he said about the town of Albany- about how beautiful it is and how we have a great deal of faith in the tourist industry. The honourable member for Robertson and all honourable members must remember that Albany is a long way from the populous eastern States. With the recent increases in fuel and other prices we do not find, as the honourable member suggested, as many people moving down the Cape Leeuwin way, as we call it, at the bottom end of Western Australia. His observations regarding the employment situation do not hold as true today as they may have done when he obtained information when he was in that area. The wet fish industry has not been a success.
Quite recently the major killing works of Thomas Borthwick and Sons Ltd in Western Australia closed down. Albany is in a very tight position in respect of employment and general prosperity.
During the debate on the ministerial statement dealing with whales and whaling on 4 April 1979, 1 said in this House that I did not wish to canvass the whole whaling argument again. I do not wish to do so tonight. I believe that the Government has taken a certain step in policy, and it has the right to do so. I quarrel particularly with one part of the Whale Protection Bill. In this regard I am very heartened by the Labor Party’s attitude towards the rights of Australian citizens. I was rather staggered at the position the Government took on this legislation regarding those rights. In the name of the conservation of whales, the Government intends to place the most punitive restrictions on Australian citizens. If an Australian goes overseas and engages in a whaling industry of another country where that industry is quite lawful- as has been pointed out by the honourable member for Robertson- and that country is operating under the International Whaling Commission, an international body of which Australia is an active participant, that Australian, on returning to Australia, will have committed a crime and will be prosecuted and subjected to heavy penalties.
What is the justification for this? What arguments have demonstrated the need for a complete departure from the status quo? In the past, what Australian Government has tried to direct its citizens to a certain code of behaviour when they are overseas? What might this Government or future governments decide that people can or cannot do when they are overseas? I want to emphasise again that I do not wish to discuss whaling. I have pointed out that I believe the Government has a policy and it has a right to carry out that policy. However, I personally disagree with it. I want to discuss people’s liberties. Let us look at the three points that I have raised. The justification comes from the Frost report of the Inquiry into Whales and Whaling. It was detailed by the Minister for Science and the Environment (Mr Thomson) in his second reading speech. I wish briefly to turn to the Frost report in order to demonstrate better why it was commissioned and to analyse briefly its contents. Just before I turn to that report, honourable members should appreciate that since I have been in Parliament, and since whaling became an issue and the Frost report was tabled, successive governments have supported the whaling industry within Australia and have supported the concept of the International Whaling Commission. To give two very brief examples of that, in answer to a question on notice recorded on page 2402 of the House of Representatives Hansard of 15 May 1975, Mr Whitlam stated in part:
Like other member countries of the IWC Australia accepts the advice of the IWC Scientific Committee which consists of the world’s leading scientists who specialise in whale population dynamics.
On 18 October 1977, at page 1418 of the Senate Hansard in answer to a question without notice from Senator Thomas regarding a decision of the Federal Council of the Liberal Party, former Senator Cotton replied:
The Government has a made a decision in accordance with the general position of the International Whaling Commission, of which it is a member, and with that of the Scientific Committee. As the honourable member has said, this matter was debated at the Liberal Party’s Federal Council meeting. It took a different view from that taken by the Government. The Federal Council expressed itself, and that is a demonstration of freedom of speech in the Liberal Party.
So without any real friction within the Australian community, that was the position until the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) referred to an inquiry in his policy speech of November 1977. On 20 November 1978, the Prime Minister announced the terms of reference for an inquiry. Those people in Australia who were interested in whaling knew that from that day on the whaling industry in Australia was doomed. I will quote from the statement of the Prime Minister before he announced the terms of the inquiry. He said:
There is a natural community disquiet about any activity that threatens the extinction of any animal species.
I abhor any such activity- particularly when it is directed against a- species as special and intelligent as the whale. There are, however, two distinct views in relation to the activities of whalers.
He went on to describe those two views. He then said:
For a statement leading up to an independent inquiry that clearly demonstrates the thoughts of the Prime Minister, that statement starts off in a fairly biased area. Let us turn to the inquiry. In his statement on 4 April 1979 the Prime Minister said that the inquiry was well-balanced and wellreasoned. I have read the report very carefully. I agree that arguments on both side are fairly presented, but every conclusion, without those arguments having persuaded me, comes down on the side of conservation. I did not detect any strong view of Sir Sidney Frost until chapter 1 1 where the report spoke about community attitudes to whaling. I turn briefly to page 193 where opinion polls were discussed. During June and July 1978 the Australian Conservation Foundation conducted a survey, to which the judge specifically referred in these words:
The poll in fact showed that about 42 per cent of Australians believe that whales should not be killed at all, even if it could be shown that whaling does not threaten the existence of the species . . .
He did not mention the other half of the question, which was: Should whaling be continued on a controlled basis? Fifty two per cent of those polled said that it should. Let me read on from page 193.
It is not only opinion polls that show a significant support for an end to whaling. Project Jonah points to the very strong support from children and their teachers on this issue, an emotive issue as it may be for young children . . . There is also a strong group of conservation organisations, all of them with the support of very large numbers of members, arguing that whales should be protected. They include Project Jonah, the Australian Conservation Foundation, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace Australia. The same view is taken by the governments of New South Wales and South Australia at least.
It was submitted by Project Jonah that on the basis of demonstrated public attitudes and opinions, the killing of whales is wrong in the eyes of the Australian community. The submission then went on to suggest that the continuation of whaling by Australia would outrage a significant proportion of the population.
This statement is contrary to what I have just mentioned about the poll which was conducted by the Australian Conservation Foundation a little earlier. The point I wish to make is in the next sentence. It reads.
The latter view is one with which the Inquiry agrees.
That was the first time in the whole report that the inquiry said that it agreed with a definite point of view. I submit to honourable members that the conclusions drawn from the inquiry are arguable. I have not the time or the desire to discuss the details of the report. As I said earlier, I believe that the Government has a policy. My point in enlarging on the reports to the degree that I have is to say that at no place in that report was any mention made of extra-territorial activities of Australian citizens, that they should be subject to heavy fines if they involve themselves in whaling anywhere in the world. At no time was that matter mentioned in the Frost report. There is no definite attitude in the whole community. There is a very much divided attitude.
I turn to the second question that I raise; that is, whether the Australian Government should direct the behaviour of citizens while overseas. A number of Bills have been mentioned which have extra-territorial implications. They deal mainly with international agreements, maintenance of the law within Australia and foreign affairs and defence. The Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act 1978 is most often used as an example of legislation of a parallel nature. I do not believe that there is any similarity. That Bill primarily outlaws .the training and recruitment of Australian citizens and residents in Australia for incursions into foreign countries whose governments are recognised by Australia. That is the basic reason for that legislation. A ministerial discretion is also provided throughout that legislation which allows certain people to serve in different armies or to be recruited for different causes throughout the world. I submit, without going through all the Bills, that this extra-territorial intrusion is a complete departure from any former government of Australia’s direction through legislation to its citizens. I trust that these Bills will be debated at greater length at the Committee stage.
I turn to the third point. Where does this Government, or any future government of Australia, go from here? Would it not be reasonable for a future government which disapproved of uranium mining not only to cease mining in Australia but also to prosecute on his return to Australia any citizen who engaged in that activity anywhere in the world? Why do we not bring in a law to prosecute on their return to Australia those who go to California and smoke pot, which it is quite legal to do there? That activity is lawful in California but is seen as highly dangerous and unlawful in Australia. Why do we not protect not only the whales but also the health of our citizens by bringing in some type of legislation which would discipline them when they come back to Australia from overseas? One could go on. Imagine the United States imposing a similar law on its citizens if they were engaged in shooting kangaroos in Australia. The products of kangaroos are banned from entry into the United States because the United States Government believes that it is an endangered species. But we know that kangaroos have multiplied to the extent in some parts of Australia that they have eaten out the country, caused erosion and in some areas are starving to death. The Government has adopted a high international and domestic profile on the whaling issue, which it has amply demonstrated by the legislation which is before us. I believe that it is wrong to go to the length that it has gone as far as extra-territorial activities of Australians are concerned.
Up to this moment I did not know that the Labor Party intended to move an amendment. I shall move an amendment which, if it is accepted, will allow Australian citizens to engage in whaling operations of other countries that comply with the requirements of the International Whaling Commission. To be consistent, the Frost report at no time raised the question of extra-territorial behaviour. The United States and New Zealand legislation mentioned in the report were in connection with the 200-mile limit, the export and import of whale products, and a general moratorium. In the report that legislation was not mentioned in the context of the extra-territorial activities of those countries ‘ citizens. As far as I can ascertain, the submissions from Project Jonah, Greenpeace and others, which are very lengthy, did not mention extraterritorial activities. It is quite beyond me to imagine why the Government has decided to introduce this fairly draconian measure. That is the main thrust of the amendment that I would like to move.
I also believe that the Minister might be able to explain why- in the many debates we have had up to date on this issue, I really have not been satisfied- the Bill particularly singles out the Australian citizen as referred to in, say, the Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitments) Act as against residents of Australia. I would like to try to clarify that matter. I do not really see the difference. I do not see why some people who are not Australia citizens but who live here on a permanent basis are not covered by this legislation. For the sake of argument, let us say that two people come to Australia from Britain, that one takes up Australian citizenship and the other maintains British citizenship, and that they then go overseas and engage in the whaling industry before coming back to Australia.
– They could be husband and wife.
– Yes, they could be husband and wife. One of these persons could be subject to prosecution and could face a massive fine for his activities overseas. The other would not be subject to prosecution. So I intend to provide, if my amendment is appropriate, that people who are not Australian citizens and who are resident in Australia should be included in this legislation. I think that would be a lot fairer.
In conclusion, I wish to say that I have not debated the whaling issue; I have debated the civil rights issue of where this type of legislation could lead us in the future. I think the Government would be wise to take another look at the legislation. I would like to point out that on 4 April, during the debate on the ministerial statement on whaling, I said that I still believe that, with careful management leading to increasing stocks of whales, the harvesting of whales for man’s use is a legitimate endeavour. Whilst I say that, I understand that the Government has the right to make policy in this field and in other fields and the Government has made this decision. Might I say that it has not made the decision in consultation with people such as me. That is often the way that these things occur. The Government still has the right to do it. But it does not have the right to go beyond the bounds of. what I, a lot of my colleagues and most Australians think is fair and reasonable treatment of the Australian citizens.
-I am very pleased to see the Minister for Science and the Environment (Mr Thomson) sitting at the table this evening. I hope that at the conclusion of this debate he will answer the questions that I will put to him on behalf of the constituents of the electorate of Leichhardt, on behalf of all Australians and probably on behalf of the peoples of the world. All honourable members are well aware that the days of Captain Ahab and Moby Dick are over. It is very pleasing to see that slowly the world is beginning to look at its fauna and its fisheries not from the point of view of what profit can be made out of them but from the point of view of what we can do to ensure their conservation and survival. The growing conscience of the world is encouraged by the indiscriminate slaughter of so many species of animals.
– What about human beings?
– Why do you not go and make another donation to the National Civic Council and keep quiet?
I suppose that, in so many cases of abuse of animals, governments must establish a priority in producing legislation which is equipped to deal effectively with offenders who commit acts of savagery on animals and mammals. I congratulate the Government for showing plenty of common sense on this occasion in placing whales, the largest of the world’s mammals, near the top of that list of priorities. Certainly, there are not many whales these days which, like Moby Dick, can get the better of their pursuers. Modern whaling technology has reduced their chance of escape to Buckleys, as the old saying goes. But I cannot help wondering, when we review this sort of legislation, whether we should be casting our nets more widely to take into our legislation protection for other species of marine life. We are concerned here with a total blanket protection of cetaceans, chiefly whales. I ask the Minister:
What is the Government doing about protecting other fish in our seas?
– The black marlin?
– In particular, the black marlin. The black marlin was recently featured by our national airline, Qantas Airways Ltd, in its magazines. The black marlin is, as the Minister for Science and the Environment would well know, an enormous tourist attraction. Game fishermen come from around the world to catch and tag the black marlin. As the Minister knows, his electorate and the city of Cairns owe so much to the black marlin for the prosperity of the business community there. Cairns can thank the black marlin for making it the big game fishing capital of the world. Yet, we may ask, what protection does this Government offer the black marlin? Like every other natural resource this country has to offer, the Government has sold out our interests to foreigners for a song. I refer, of course, to the Australian-Japanese fishing agreement which has given Japanese fishermen annual access to millions of square miles of Australian waters. At what price? It has granted this access for a pittance. Once again it is a sellout of Australia’s natural resources.
I have asked the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Nixon) to detail the cost to the Government of policing the agreement and so forth and to compare that figure with the money received from the Japanese for access to the Australian fishing zone. We all know that the amount received is a paltry $1.4m. I do not think that $1.4m would even pay the fuel bill for the VIP jets of the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser). The Minister replied to my question on notice No. 5570 concerning the cost of surveillance of Japanese and other foreign interest fishing vessels operating in the Australian fishing zone by saying:
It has not been practicable to apportion costs.
Further on the Minister said:
The costs incurred by Commonwealth and State governments for fisheries management inluding monitoring and controlling foreign fishing activities cannot be directly related to licence and access fees. The benefits from fisheries management are to the community as a whole.
Either the Government did an awfully bad public relations job or the benefits simply do not outweight the disadvantages, because the community as a whole is not happy with the Government’s handling of our fisheries resources. The community of Cairns and the electorate of Leichhardt probably will show the extent of their disapproval by voting out their representative at the next Federal election. We will then see how much the community as a whole believes it has benefited from the Government’s sellout of Australia’s resources and its disgraceful neglect of the black marlin. I do not know whether the people of Queensland will respond with much enthusiasm to the Government’s whale protection legislation, but if the Federal Government showed as much concern about the black marlin as it does about the whales, the people not only of Queensland but also of Australia as a whole and the world would respond with enthusiasm. Nevertheless, this Bill is quite an achievement for a Government whose record on environmental protection and conservation has been, at best, lacklustre and, at worst, absolutely pathetic.
Let us look at the concern the Government has shown for marlin fishing. Over the last year I have asked the Minister for Primary Industry and his predecessor some 70 questions concerning the Japanese-Australian fishing agreement, with particular reference to long-line fishing in black marlin fisheries. For example, on 10 October 1979 I placed on notice question No. 4839. In paragraph (5 ) of that question I asked:
What effects will heavy long-line fishing by the Japanese have on the black marlin population in north Queensland waters?
Naturally, the Minister could only confirm the obvious. He said:
Fishing in any fishery can be expected to reduce the overall stock size and density and hence the catch rate.
In the previous answer the Minister supplied statistics indicating the amount of black marlin caught between 1970 and 1977. The figures are very revealing. In 1970 the Japanese nettedthese are the ones they have told us about- 1,006. In 1977 the catch was around 280. This is a drop of 400 per cent. The Federal Government has given its stamp of approval to that sort of decimation. The Minister went on to speak about the effect of long lining in marlin fisheries and said that it would also reduce the average size of the fish. Of course, that would be of great interest to the big game fisheries and the constituents of the electorate of Leichhardt. The next worst thing to complete annihilation of black marlin is to decrease its numbers and size. That is this Government’s policy as we now have it. The people of north Queensland, of Australia and of the world are not happy with it.
It is no good for the Minister for Science and the Environment to pass the buck to the Minister for Primary Industry over the marlin issue. In fact, the three Bills before us tonight were introduced by the Minister for Science and the Environment. The Minister has the powers in these Bills, should he choose to use them, which place the black martin in the same category as the whale and other cetaceans. The Fisheries Act already provides the power for the Minister to prohibit the taking of fish- in which category the black martin certainly fits- by specific methods or equipment. I repeat ‘by specific methods or equipment’. It is now up to the minister to declare himself. I want him to declare himself tonight. Will he invoke that power to bar the longline method of fishing in Australian waters?
While we are dealing with north Queensland, I would like to bring to the attention of the Government a problem being experienced in the northern zone export section of Commonwealth fisheries which extends from the Northern Territory to Mackay in north Queensland. Apparently, there is a drastic shortage of staff which is delaying the fishing operations and the export of fish products. I am advised by the diligent State Parliament member for Cairns, Mr Ray Jones, a man who is a true and responsible representative of the people of Cairns, that it is impossible to cope with the volume of work and to undertake the duties allocated to the eight staff who have regional duties to perform. I understand that their duties include inspections at shore leases and all those depots registered with the Commonwealth Department of Primary Industry and controlled under the export fish regulations. They are also to see that cold stores comply with regulations, check temperature and hygiene and ensure that export products are placed in registered premises. This requires physical and visual inspections, including thaws and testing at each factory. The premises have to be inspected and duly tested annually.
With the increased volume of off-shore establishments, exports of products and the rising number of boats in the area, the number of Commonwealth staff has not increased from its established number of eight over a long period. It is estimated that at least one dozen extra staff may give some efficiency to the industry. The packers and exporters are complaining bitterly of the inadequacies of the services presently being granted due to the shortage of staff. I hope the Minister will take this matter into consideration and institute such changes as would provide extra staff and, by so doing, improve the services provided. After all, it is ludicrous to talk about protecting creatures of the sea if we do not have adequate manpower within the fisheries division to ensure their protection. We can thump our chests and proclaim our concern for the conservation of the environment, but it does precious little good if we cannot enforce our laws.
Concerning enforcement of the provisions contained in the Bills which we are debating tonight, I seek the Minister’s guidance on a matter involving exclusions from the provisions relating to penalties. In the Minister’s second reading speech on the Whale Protection Bill on 23 April he said that the basic prohibitions of the Bill would not apply if a permit has been given to a fishing vessel; if a cetacean is unavoidably affected during licensed commercial fishing operations, where suffering by a cetacean is to be prevented, where risk to human life or health is involved, or where damage to any vessel, aircraft or structure fixed to the seabed is to be avoided. This seems to be to prevent a possible loophole, especially if we look at its application to cetaceans other than the whale- that is, the dolphin and the porpoise.
As the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen) has already said tonight, porpoises and dolphins find their way into fishing nets or they can be accidentally killed. I would like the Minister, if he would, to address himself specifically in his reply to the matter and explain whether a fisherman, who, in such circumstances as I have outlined, were to kill a dolphin or a porpoise would be liable to prosecution for breach of the Act. The exclusions outlined in the Minister’s speech suggest to me that this legislation, like fishing nets, has holes. As for the Bills punitive provisions which follow Government policies, I believe these are an indication of the extent to which the Prime Minister has been influenced and, I should say, guided by the Save the Whale lobby. Before I proceed, I should say categorically that I am wholly behind that campaign.
I believe also that it ought to be recorded that this legislation would probably not be before this House tonight in its present form were it not for the persistent endeavours of a member of the Prime Minister’s household. I trust that the Prime Minister’s daughter will now take up the campaign to save the black martin. I hope she will be equally successful in encouraging the Prime Minister to consider the plight of the black martin and to ensure that the Japanese long-line fishermen will not be allowed to carry out their operations in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef region. I also hope that the Minister at the table this evening, the Minister for Science and the Environment, will take up the campaign for the black martin, as have the people of his electorate, because he knows that Cairns depends very sincerely on black martin fishing and the tourist industry.
-Tonight I want to deal with the Whale Protection Bill which provides for the protection of whales, porpoises and dolphins within the Australian 200-mile fishing zone. It is a Bill which I support and I believe it has widespread support throughout the community. The history of whaling regrettably, is a sorry one. Whalers have reduced populations of one species after another to fragments of their original levels and then moved on to the next target. The blue whale, which is the largest animal that has ever livedreaching lengths of 30 metres and more- this century has been reduced to less than 5 per cent of its initial numbers and in some areas some species have suffered even worse fates. In this debate I want to confine my remarks to the relevance this legislation has on the preservation of the ecosystem in the Antarctic region, where the highest numbers of whale stocks are found in Australian controlled waters.
Australia’s responsibilities extend into the Antarctic. Furthermore the Antarctic has been an area where, over the years, commercial whaling has extensively exploited the whale stocks which have been depleted from around one million in 1904 to the present figure of around 350,000. In the Antarctic, attention first focused on the blue whale and it dominated the catch until the mid- 1930s. By 1950 the numbers of blue whale had collapsed and few were being taken. The second biggest whale, the fin, was next to suffer the same fate and it dominated the catch until the early 1960s. Populations of the hump back whale also crashed in the early 1960s, leading to the closure of whaling stations at Tangalooma near Brisbane, Byron Bay and the North West Cape in Western Australia. The station at Albany switched its operations from humpback to sperm whales.
With numbers of the large whales having deteriorated, the sei whale became extensively hunted. Today the only whale species in the southern hemisphere for which catch limits greater than zero have been set are the minke, brydes and sperm whale. There is a zero catch limit on all other species of large whales. The reduction of the whale stocks in recent decades is probably the major effect of human activities in the Antarctic which has had a measurable effect on the Antarctic ecosystem as a whole.
– I move:
-What is the honourable member trying to do? Has he taken over the Whip’s job? Is he the Whip?
– Doesn’t the honourable member want a debate on this? Has the honourable member for Isaacs taken over the Whip’s job?
-Order! The honourable member for Hawker will resume his seat. I want to verify whether it is the intention of the Government to close the debate. I am directing my question to the Minister for Science and the Environment who is at the table.
– It is not the Government’s intention to close the debate.
-Is the honourable member prepared to withdraw his motion? It is up to the honourable member for Isaacs whether he wishes to proceed with his motion.
– Yes, I wish to proceed with the motion.
– I think it is a disgrace.
-In view of the fact that the honourable member for Isaacs wishes to proceed with the motion, I have no recourse other than to put the question.
Question resolved in the negative.
– This is unusual, to say the least. Whales are highly mobile, ranging throughout the world’s oceans. Before exploitation by man the southern hemisphere baleen whales feeding largely in the Antarctic outnumbered those in the north by a ratio of at least four to one. Of all the oceans, the most extensive areas of high proiduction lie south of the Antarctic Convergence. ‘ As I stated earlier, the commercially imported species of baleen whales include the blue whale, the fin whale and the humpback whale. The sei and minke whales have become prominent in catches only recently. I suggest to honourable members on both sides of the House that whales are a valuable resource.
– What about human beings?
-If the honourable member will wait a little longer he might learn something. Small whales such as minke whales are worth about $10,000 each and the larger baleen whales such as sei and sperm whales are worth up to $50,000 each. For this reason it is important that the fines imposed for the illegal taking of whales are commensurate with the commercial value of the whales taken. The two main species of toothed whale are the sperm whale and the killer whale. A basic feature of whales is that they undertake long migrations, mostly feeding in summer in the food-rich Antarctic waters and breeding in winter at high latitudes where they undergo an enforced fast and rely on energy stored as fat. Whale migrations, however, are staggered with peak numbers being present in the Antarctic from January until April. Within a particular species the migration of the different classes varies according to size, sex and feeding needs.
Krill is by far the most important food organism for all baleen whales. I ask the honourable member for Swan (Mr Martyr) to listen. He may understand something. Before the reduction in the numbers of whales caused by whaling the baleen whales grazed down the post larval krill in a feeding zone which shifted south to the centre as the ice retreated to expose progressively more of the krill stocks. The sea south of the Antarctic Convergence covers an area of nearly 36 million square kilometres with the pack ice belt at its maximum extent in late winter covering 22 million square kilometres or 60 per cent of the area. At a minimum, it covers 4 million square kilometres or 1 1 per cent of the sea. In winter, pack ice covers nearly the whole krill zone. Prior to the initiation of commercial whaling, stocks of baleen whales feeding in the Antarctic totalled about one million animals with a total biomass of about 43 million tons. Now it is estimated that during the whale feeding season which lasts about 120 days the whales consume krill at the rate of 3.5 per cent of their body weight each day or a total of 4.2 times their body weight each year. With commercial whaling having reduced the whale biomass from about 43 million tons in 1904 to about 6.6 million tons of biomass -
- Mr Deputy Speaker, I move:
– There has been a resultant increase of about 153 million tons of krill.
-Order! I ask the honourable member for Hawker to resume his seat.
– Will the honourable member make up his mind?
– I have moved ‘That the question be now put’.
-Order! Both the honourable member -
– Why does the Whip not do it?
– Because I am doing it.
-Order! Will the honourable member for Hawker please resume his seat. I propose to make a ruling. In accordance with Standing Order 86, the Speaker or the Chairman of Committees is given the prerogative to adopt a certain line. Standing Order 86 deals with the motion that the question be now put. The honourable member for Isaacs moved that: ‘The question be now put’, which motion was negatived. The last part of Standing Order 86 states:
Should any of these questions be negatived, no similar proposal shall be received if the Speaker or the Chairman is of opinion that it is an abuse of the orders or forms of the House, or is moved for the purpose of obstructing business.
Therefore, I will not accept that motion. I call the honourable member for Hawker.
- Mr Deputy Speaker, I move:
– I raise a point of order. As an extension of what you have ruled, Mr Deputy Speaker, I wondered whether you could give me some idea when you will accept such a motion.
-At this stage, I will not accept it. I think the prerogative is open to the Speaker or to the Chairman to form an opinion. I have formed that opinion and ruled accordingly. I call the honourable member for Hawker.
– I have moved that the honourable member for Hawker be not further heard.
-The same situation applies in respect of that motion. I remind the honourable member for Isaacs -
– We have a Minister in charge, the Whip is sitting over there, but the Government has lost control.
-Mr Deputy Speaker, might I just -
-Order! I suggest the honourable member for Hawker resume his seat. I am perfectly capable of ruling on this matter. The same situation applies under Standing Order 86 whether the motion is that a member be not further heard or that the question be now put. I make the same ruling. I now call the honourable member for Hawker.
-I thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. I indicate to the Government Whip that I will speak for no more than five minutes. The honourable member for Swan has interjected persistently and I say to him -
-Order! I suggest the honourable member for Hawker pursue his speech.
– I am dealing with the subject of whales and krill. I address my remarks to the honourable member for Swan. Because of its high nutritional value the krill surplus has caused considerable interest in many countries, particularly Japan, the Soviet Union, West Germany, Poland and Taiwan. With the world’s population expected to grow by at least two billion over the next 20 years, the commercial potential of krill for human consumption is being examined carefully. Annual catches of krill could possibly be as high as 100 million to 200 million tons, clearly exceeding the present total world catch of fish. An increase in whale stocks to precommercial whaling days would seriously affect the availability of krill and, therefore, its potential as a source of human food. A balanced judgment has to be made. It is not the simple issue that honourable members on both sides of the House choose to make it.
Conversely, commercial exploitation of krill could hinder any attempts to increase the present number of whales by reducing their basic food supply and thus their present rate of reproduction. Studies have shown that the present increase in food abundance has resulted in increased rates of pregnancy, increased body growth and a decrease in sexual maturity age for whales. The Government’s concern about the cruelty of harpooning whales and the need for their conservation is shared and understood. However, the world’s future food requirements must also be considered and taken into account in any whale conservation program. Data available is still not adequate to form a basis to assess the overall significant biomass or production of fish stocks in the Antarctic. The baleen whales as the peak of the food chain probably remain the most important vertebrate group in their effect on the Antarctic ecosystem. Their stocks are likely to stabilise or to increase slowly with realistic scientific management but it is uncertain that their original abundance will be regained, even if commercial whaling ceases.
Whales generally produce young at rates well below one a year so they cannot build up their numbers quickly. The maximum potential growth rate is about 5 per cent a year and that is unlikely to be achieved anywhere. The main sperm whale stocks are to be found outside Antarctic waters and breeding occurs in the tropics and sub-tropic zone. No reliable estimate of sperm whale numbers in the Antarctic is available but like the baleen whale the size of the stock has been affected by whaling operations. This has been reflected by a marked decrease in the mean body lengths of sperm whales caught in Antarctic waters and by the decline in the catch per unit effort.
Since 1964-65 when international regulations began restricting the size of catches, whaling operations have declined. The International Whaling Commission was set up in 1948 to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry. Over the years Australian delegates have played a major role in the International Whaling Commission with Australia emerging as a dedicated and consistent force for conservation.
I conclude on this observation: With few exceptions scientists at the Commission meetings are now the puppets of their political masters. Each goes into meetings determined to insert into reports words that can be used in the debate to bolster political and economic desires. In other words, whales now have more protection than ever before but only where conservation does not interfere with more pressing needs. Mr Deputy Speaker, I thank you for your consideration.
-When this matter was last debated in the House -
- Mr Deputy Speaker, I move: That the question be now put’. This time I want the question to be put.
-I again draw the attention of the honourable member for Bendigo to the provisions of Standing Order 86. However, in the present -
– You had best put the question.
-I remind the honourable member for Bendigo that it is still open to the Chair not to accept the motion. However, in the circumstances of this case I shall accept the motion. The motion is: ‘That the question be now put’.
The House divided. (Mr Deputy Speaker-Mr V. J. Martin)
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Motion (by Mr Thomson) agreed to:
That this Bill be referred to a legislation committee for report by 20 May 1980.
Consideration resumed from 23 April, on motion by Mr Thomson:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Motion (by Mr Thomson) agreed to:
That this Bill be referred to a legislation committee for report by 20 May 1980.
Consideration resumed from 23 April, on motion by Mr Thomson:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Motion (by Mr Thomson) agreed to:
That this Bill be referred to a legislation committee for report by 20 May 1980.
-The nominations of members to the legislation committee to consider the Whale Protection Bill 1980, the Fisheries Amendment (Whale Protection) Bill 1980 and the Continental Shelf (Living Natural Resources) Amendment Bill 1980, have been received. The Government members nominated are: Mr Thomson (member in charge of the Bill), Mr Braithwaite, Mr Carlton, Mr Chapman, Mr Cotter, Mr Drummond, Mr Hyde, Mr Lusher, Mr McLean, Sir William McMahon and Mr Short.
The Opposition members nominated are: Mr John Brown, Mr Cohen, Mr Dawkins, Mr Humphreys and Mr Les McMahon.
Debate resumed from 17 April, on motion by MrEllicott:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
-This Bill sets out to amend the Australian Film Commission Act 1975 in six major ways: First, by extending the definition of ‘special activities’ in section 3 to give the Commission power to promote and distribute films. Second, by removing the power of the Minister to direct the Commission with respect to the making of films or to require his approval in the making and promotion of certain types of films. Third, by changing the composition of the Commission by repealing the mandatory requirement that there be a full time chairman and at least two full time members, substituting an option to appoint full or part time members and permitting a staff member, presumably the proposed general manager, to become a Commission member, giving the Minister power to appoint an acting chairman if the acting chairman is absent without leave. Fourth, by taking the Australian Film Commission away from the provisions of the Public Service Act by giving the Commission power to appoint such officers and engage such employees as it thinks necessary for the performance of its functions, such terms and conditions to be determined by the Commission with the approval of the Public Service Board. Fifth, by amending section 35 of the Act to remove the need for ministerial approval for transactions involving more than $250,000 in relation to the making, promotion, distribution or broadcasting of programs. Sixth, by repealing section 36 of the Act, the AFC will now be responsible for superannuation payments for all of its staff, without excluding special activities staff as at present.
Despite many attempts over the years, including the 1927 Royal Commission on the Moving Picture Industry in Australia and the 1 963 report of the Senate Select Committee on the Encouragement of Australian Productions for Television, better known as the Vincent report after its chairman, the late Senator Seddon Vincent, successive Australian governments took no action to support a feature film or television industry in Australia until 1968 when the then Prime Minister, John Grey Gorton, appointed the Australian Council for the Arts, now renamed the Australia Council. The ACA set up a film and television committee which prepared a report recommending: First, a national film and television school; second, an experimental film fund; third, a film development corporation; and fourth, an investigation of tariffs as they affected the film industry.
The Government accepted all four recommendations. In 1969 an Interim Council for a National Film and Television School was appointed and in 1973 the Australian Film and Television School was officially opened by the then Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam. The experimental Film Fund was set up in 1969. Its administration was farmed out by the ACA through its film and television committee to the Australian Film Institute. This was at a time when the Vietnam War was raging and when a variety of new forms of expression, both political and sexual, was developing in cinema. John Gorton made the sensible decision that he wanted to distance himself and his Government from direct involvement in making decisions as to whether particular projects went ahead or not. If he vetoed a project the civil libertarians would be down on him like a ton of bricks, but if he authorised a film which denounced his Government’s Vietnam policies the members of his own back bench would have their knives out. So with one notable exception, we have had a tradition of ministerial non-involvement in the decisionmaking process. This Bill will ensure that the power is never used again.
The Experimental Film Fund was run first by the Australia Council for the Arts, then by the Interim Council, then by the Film and Television Board of the revamped Australia Council and, from 1 976 by the Australian Film Commission. In 1970 the Australian Film Development Corporation Act was passed. The Commission consisted of a part time chairman, John Darling, four part time members and a general manager who was not a member of the board. Beginning with a $ lm budget, the AFDC had a notable run of successes, beginning with The Adventures of Barry McKenzie and Alvin Purple. It was partly beginner’s luck but it also reflected a strong but, as events proved, strictly temporary upsurge of national feeling- a wave which contributed to putting the Australian Labor Party in office in December 1972 just as its receding contributed to its demise in December 1975. For years people had stayed away from Australian productions as a matter of principle. While Australian national feeling was riding high there was a period when people flocked to see Australian films, whether or not they were good. Mercifully, some of them were very good indeed.
In 1975 the AFDC was replaced by the Australian Film Commission with a full time chairman, Mr Ken Watts, two full time commissioners, Mr Peter Martin and Mr John McQuaid, and several part time commissioners. The AFC assumed the film bank functions of the AFDC. It also took over the Experimental Film Fund from the Film and Television Board of the Australia Council and made it part of its Creative Development Branch. In addition, the AFC administered Film Australia, as the Commonwealth Film Unit was renamed. Mr Ken Watts is being retained as chairman of the AFC but the two full-time commissioners, Peter Martin and John McQuaid, have been defenestrated, a decision which I deplore. The Minister for Home Affairs (Mr Ellicott) referred in his second reading speech to the report commissioned from Peat, Marwick, Mitchell Services, management consultants, entitled ‘Towards a more effective Commission- the AFC in the 1980s’. It seems a very thin document indeed. After repeated rereadings it really seems to be quite sub-professional.
-Can’t you find it to read it?
-Yes; it is immensely thin. I have it here after all. The Minister said in his second reading speech that the Bill was intended to enable the Commission to operate with more flexibility and on a more commercial basis. He quoted, with approval, from the third report of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations on ‘Statutory Authorities of the Commonwealth’ in which it reported that if the Commission was to become a fully commercial organisation it should have the same autonomous control over its staff as other commercial organisations. I quote from the recommendations of Peat, Marwick, Mitchell Services, particularly recommendation No. 1 which states:
I will read the actual section entitled ‘Conclusion and Recommendations’. It is not very long but I think it needs to be examined. It states:
Faced with a finite domestic market, the policy options open to AFC are: accept the ‘small’ industry option of an Australian film industry catering for the domestic market, producing low budget pictures- up to 7 or 8 annually; accept the ‘global ‘ industry concept that survival of an Australian industry, facing rising costs, increasing domestic competition and expanding international opportunities is dependent on its ability to produce software-
That is the code world for film - which is also capable of being sold in overseas markets.
We recommend the AFC should work towards the second view, encouraging the growth, maturing and self sufficiency of the Australian film industry. This, in part requires a shift in attitudes.
For the AFC effective planning and commitment to funds is dependent on information. The capacity to judge performance of Australian films in domestic and export markets is constrained, particularly where the AFC is not an investor. The market information available from trade sources, although reliable, does not cover the full industry.
Internally, there is an urgent need to collate and use available market information, e.g. the sources used in Appendix 4. The research already commissioned should be more widely disseminated and future information needs assessed.
We believe that to enable the AFC and Government to measure the performance of the Australian film industry and the success of Government policies in supporting Australian films, there should be access to better statistical information than is currently available. We therefore recommend that the AFC should liaise with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to initiate a quarterly statistical collection of Australian box office takings (including drive-ins) and export earnings from cinema and television programs. This would follow the Retail Census of 1 979-80 which will include cinema earnings and will provide the basis for on-going periodical surveys. Data should separately identify earnings from Australian films.
Recognising the question of priorities within the ABS, we nevertheless believe it is justified in terms of the extent of Government commitments to the film industry. It will require, therefore, the support of the Minister and his Department.
That is the end of that section produced by Peat, Marwick, Mitchell Services. One wonders whether perhaps the blank page following was intended to contain the information necessary to know how we will reach that global market. But it seems to me a quite extraordinary non sequitur to say: ‘We have decided you will go for the global market. Right. What are the steps that you propose to enter that global market? Step No. 1 is to ask the ABS to calculate what the domestic returns are in Australia’. What has that to do with the global market? But what is step No. 2? There really is a fundamental fallacy in all this. There is a suggestion that if we aim at films which are, say, mid-Atlantic in their appeal and which are aimed at everybody- the broadest possible audience- somehow we will make our way into the global market. I think that is unlikely. The Australian films which have made some penetration into the global market have been characteristically Australian in their nature. In other words, they have not appealed because they have self-consciously set out for this abstract global market. They have succeeded, in a sense, despite that. They have succeeded because the particularity of the subject matter- the fact that they have dealt with something which is absolutely indigenous and have dealt with it extremely successfully- has managed to make the breakthrough.
– What about Mad Max?
-I think Mad Max has a specific Australian quality about it, as opposed to Harlequin, Tony Ginnane’s recent film, which troubled me because it was aimed so selfconsciously at the non-Australian market. There was nothing in it that would be identified with Australia. I speak about Mad Max with some feeling because it was shot in my electorate and has all the characteristics of the electorate of Lalor throughout it.
– But they missed you out.
-They missed me out, but it is not to be wondered that there have been record applications for people to migrate to the electorate of Lalor as a result of having seen Mad Max.
– Who was shot in your electorate?
-Marf Max was shot in my electorate. If we look at a film such as Harlequin, which was largely shot in Perth, and examine it very carefully, we will see that apart from the fact that the word Ansett appears rather obliquely in an airport scene, there is no reason to assume that it was shot anywhere outside the United States. Given the attention that the United States Senate is paying to Ansett at this very moment, it may be that the name Ansett will become all too familiar.
– A household word.
-Absolutely; a household word, as the Minister helpfully contributes.
– The global market should not be the sole criterion.
-The global market must not be the sole criterion. If we look for a formula and say ‘Here is a formula which will absolutely sweep the world and is an absolute, rock solid potential success’, we know we are headed for disaster. I remember, from my period on the AFDC, a very enthusiastic group which proposed to make a film in Old Sydney Town near Gosford. They said that it would be absolutely terrific. They said they had the rights to film in Old Sydney Town, that all the costumes and props were already there and that people in uniform could march up and down. On top of that, they said, they could get helicopters from the Army and could have the helicopters flying up and down for about a month, no doubt disguised as a defence exercise. ‘If that is not enough’, they said, ‘we have Robert Morley on top of that’. I said: ‘What will the film be about?’ They looked suddenly as if they had been hit with a captive bolt pistol. They said: ‘Well, we will get a writer to bash out a treatment’. In other words, they had no idea what they were going to do with their ingredients. They had a collection of ingredients and thought that somehow or other the film had to be terrific. But we have to start somewhere. The real problem is in the head; it is conceptual. Unless we have ideas, unless the ideas are worth putting over, we will not succeed in the global market.
– You have to have it in the heart too.
– Well, there as well.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Martin)Order! Does the honourable member for Lalor want his gesticulation incorporated in Hansard?
-Are you referring, Mr Deputy Speaker, to the Minister’s heart or to his gesturing finger? Either could be incorporated in Hansard. The Australian industry faces a challenge and a threat at the same time. We are involved in the richest film market, the English speaking world serving a total population of about 350 million people. Our problem- it is an opportunity as well as a problem- is that our population constitutes about 4 per cent of the English speaking market. If we can penetrate that total market we are really on the gravy train, and that is terrific. But the point is that if it is easy for our films to be exported to other countries, conversely it is very easy for the films of those countries to be exported to us. We have grown up in a society that has been saturated with English speaking films from the United States and from Great Britain.
If we look at some of the countries of Europe in which there are minority language groups, we find a different situation. For example, the Belgium film industry vis-a-vis the French industry and the Austrian film industry vis-a-vis the German industry have necessarily played the role of poor relations. The European countries that have had the most dramatic success in films have been those countries with an indigenous culture of their own because that indigenous culture is not capable of being exported in the language sense except through sub-titles and so forth. But they also do not face direct foreign competition. The two instances I cite would be Sweden and Hungary. Both countries have small populations and unique languages. They say: The only way we will succeed in selling our films to the world is to make first-class films, or if they are not first-class films, they must be films that have some alternative appeal’. I instance some of the Swedish porn films which deliberately aim at a specific market. But in any case they move towards the extremities; one aims at excellence; one aims at extending the current range of what is generally regarded as acceptable.
We have a curious situation in Canada where the Canadian Film Development Corporation over the years has really been funded in a much more generous way than the Australian Film Development Corporation or the Australian Film Commission. The effect has been that the only successful films in box office terms and in quality terms have been in the French Canadian industry because that industry is conscious of being isolated. It says: ‘No one in the world understands us; if people are going to understand us, they will only do so through our films ‘.
– Except for documentaries.
-That is absolutely right. The documentaries have been of extraordinarily high standard. But in the feature film industry, the English speaking industry in Canada has been notably unsuccessful, one of the problems being that it faces constant competition from its great neighbour on the other side of the border. It is a competition that Canada cannot really match.
I think the greatest failure in Australian films has been the failure of creative nerve. We have a distinct uneasiness about confrontation. We are reluctant to explore the terra incognita within us all. We dodge the dramatic implications of conflict, for example, within the family. Australia seems incapable of producing A Doll’s House, Talking to a Stranger, Who’s A/raid of Virginia Woolf? or Scenes from a Marriage. There could be no Australian King Lear. As soon as Lear showed signs of cracking up he would have been bundled off to an institution where the doctors would have stuffed him full of valium. Nobody would have seen him except on Father’s Day. The idea of an Australian King Lear is ludicrous. We are undoubtedly the world ‘s most stable and lovable people. We are certainly not the most interesting. Our society has a blandness, especially in the cities, that does not lend itself to successful dramatisation, with perhaps the notable exception of David Williamson’s plays. Our films, unlike the United States product, tend not to be about anything very much. They are mood pieces, or slices of life, often very competently shot, lit and acted, but they do not progress from point A to point B. American films are generally based on these assumptions: First, something will be at stake. The central character will pursue some clear objective- a job, a girl, a bank, a criminal, self-understanding. Second, the central character will be prepared to take strong action to secure his or her objective. Third, the difficulties faced, together with graphic action, create dramatic tension. Fourth, the central character actively seeks to change his or her circumstances or the environment.
Australian films in many cases deny themselves access to world markets by making low keyed products based on these assumptions: First, virtually nothing will be at stake. The hero or heroine- there are some exceptions such as My Brilliant Career- generally does not know what he or she wants. If there is a goal it is not wanted very much and the central character is easily deflected. It just -sounds like the Australian Democrats, does it not? Second, the central character is rarely impelled to take any strong course of action. Third, conflict -
– What about Wake in Fright”!
- Wake in Fright was not directed by an Australian.
– Yes it was.
-No, Wake in Fright was directed by Ted Kotcheff from Canada. It is very interesting that it was an outsider who had to come here to do it.
– What about Norman Erskine.
-Look, who is robbing this stage coach? Third, conflict is minimal, except in Mad Max, of course, and there is little dramatic tension. Graphic action- riding in fast cars or on motor bikes- is often irrelevant but it generally lowers the dramatic impact. Fourth, the Oz anti-hero or heroine is a passive victim of his or her circumstances and /or environment.
It is very striking that in so many of the films we have made there has been this tendency to pull back. When we thought they were going to move towards a climax of some sort there has been a tendency to pull back and say: ‘Ah well -
– They have run out of budget.
-It has partly been a matter of running out of budget but not entirely that. It has been very typical of a great run of Australian films- and I include even films that have been enormously successful such as Sunday, Too Far Away, Caddie and The Devil’s Playground- that the central character is a rather guileless representative of simple society who finds himself constantly outwitted by forces that he does not understand. In other words, the central character is very often a recessive of some sort. I think there is a moral and political significance in the central role of the Australian recessive. If the archetypal Austraiian does not understand what is going on around him, how can he be blamed for anything? Our recessives accept whatever is dished out to them without complaint, happy to avoid personal responsibility. Our producers have a nightmare fear that audiences will be bored if subjects are taken seriously or the full dramatic implications are explored. Our directors are oddly reluctant to express a personal point of view in their films. Some take a diffidently democratic position. They seem to adopt the attitude: ‘Who would be interested in my opinion on anything?’ Our films tend to be anecdotal rather than analytical. Where American films dramatise life’s contradictions or complexities, our films tend to ignore them.
– That may be Australian.
-That may be absolutely Australian. I agree with that. We prefer variety to intensity. Many television viewers like the commercial breaks in programs because they provide a respite from the subject matter. In many of our films the building up of dramatic tension is a sure sign that we will soon have a break- panning across Sydney Harbour, a flared shot of the setting sun, driving through the trees or the tide coming in. Australians are talkative enough, especially on trivialities. On deeper issues we are laconic. We do not reveal ourselves in speech or film. It is no accident that, like the Canadians, our films won international recognition in the silent era. But after the talkies began in 1929 and characters had to explain themselves -
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr MartinOrder! It being 10.30 p.m., I propose the question:
That the House do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the negative.
-I thank the House. After the talkies began, characters had to explain themselves. Our confidence, like our market, collapsed. We have an underlying uneasiness about making major statements. No Austraiian director would risk a film like Antonioni’s The Passenger, with its mounting intensity. Ted Kotcheffs Wake in Fright- probably the best film made here- was a box office disaster because it took such an unsparing view of Australian character. It is easier to make films of our past, an indulgent look at what we were doing in the days of innocence, than it is to face the problems of 1980. We are not very expert in wit and humour. Most Australian comedy scripts are mournful affairs. Our ocker humour is narcissistic and self-indulgent, strictly not for export. When comic performers like Spike Milligan and Warren Mitchell have been imported to make programs in Australia, the results have been a national embarrassment. The great comic styles such as the Jewish New York model of Woody Allen, S. J. Perelman, and Zero Mostel, or the whimsical non sequiturs of English metaphysical humour, or regional humour such as Irish, Scottish or Negro, have evolved slowly, with infinite effort, out of crises. They have universal appeal because they have evolved from deep reflection on the human experience.
In my five years on the Australian Film Development Corporation most script submissions were boring, timid and self-indulgent, reflecting the gentle banalties and venalities of Australian life. But as Flaubert demonstrated in Madam Bovary, a study of banality does not have to be banal itself. Even films based on recessive characters can be fascinating when an attempt is made to examine the context in which the characters live. We will not have an international film industry unless we actually want one, and unless our producers, directors and writers have something to say. On the other hand, interesting films may be dependent on developing a more interesting country. In other words, I think that the worst advice of all to give the incoming Australian Film Commission is to say to that Commission: ‘Look, we just want you to be commercial.’
If there were a world-wide formula by which success was guaranteed, then the film industry would simply follow that routine and no films of any quality at all would be produced. One does not know in advance what will succeed and what will not. If I could give a couple of examples, as the Minister for the Capital Territory (Mr Ellicott) knows, there was no Commonwealth money at all in Mad Max and yet it was a substantial success. In the case of My Brilliant Career, a subject on which Mrs Margaret Finke has had one or two words to say in one or two places, it was decided by the Australian Film Commission that it was not a goer and that it would not put money into it. The Commission’s judgment was wrong. What time frame does one operate in when forming a judgment? The difficulty is this. If Alvin Purple, which was one of the early great financial successes, had been produced two years later I am confident that it would have failed at the box office. Conversely, if Picnic at Hanging Rock had been produced two years earlier I am fairly confident that it would have failed at the box office. In other words, the eddies and tides of box office appeal really change very rapidly. I am simply saying that one cannot measure the commercial success of films in the same way that an accountant measures the success of a trading company over a 12-month period. If we take the case of Bergman’s films in Sweden, many of those films were not financial successes the first time around, but we find that the films are in circulation and still being shown somewhere in the world 10, 12, 15 or 20 years later. The point is that one judges success or failure, not just artistically but financially, on the basis of the success over a longer time frame, perhaps 25 years. I hope that the Minister in making his appointments will urge his commissioners not to take too seriously those remarks about aiming at the global audience. It is not just a matter of aiming at the lowest common denominator, it is also a matter of looking at the highest common multiple.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Martin)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I move:
The purpose of the amendment is simply to add a clause which enables the various provisions of the amending Bill to be brought into operation at different times. They will operate at varying times having regard to the need for them in relation to the time scale under which certain things will be done. In those circumstances, it was thought appropriate to amend the Bill in the way proposed in my amendment. While I am on my feet, I thank the honourable member for Lalor (Mr Barry Jones) for his comments in relation to the Bill, the Australian Film Commission and the industry. I am sure that all honourable members listened to the very careful analysis he made, having regard to his background in the early days of the Australian film industry. I say only that those who attack the Australian Film Commission need to understand that had it not been for the investment by governments over the years, through the Australian Film Commission -
– And the AFDC.
– And the Australian Film Development Corporation before it, the industry would not have been the industry it is today. Those who are making profits out of it are making them against the background of that investment. Today we have an industry which, in technological terms, is equal to that anywhere else in the world. In terms of its capacity to produce films, both in a technical and an artistic sense, it stands amongst the world leaders. In relation to the importance of the global system, I believe that the Australian film industry has to find those themes which, on the one hand, identify our own Australian character, but at the same time have an appeal to all English-speaking human beings.
– Why just English speaking?
– I believe such themes are available. Needless to say, script writers are of tremendous importance to our film industry, as are those who conceive the themes that are behind our films. The honourable gentleman asks: Why just English-speaking?’ I simply say that the basic thrust of our film industry is to provide films for those who are English speaking. It does not mean that if films are provided for those who are English speaking those films will not also have an attraction to those who are not. They certainly will have an attraction. We are looking for themes of a universal character. At the same time, let us have in mind the need for the film industry from time to time to produce those films which are essentially Australian in character. The dual character of the film industry I believe will continue. There will be successes at the box office and there will be failures, but let us remember that only four or five out of 10 films are successful anywhere, including the United States. Those who take into account the Australian film industry and its development need to bear those facts in mind.
– I wish to comment on the Australian Film Commission Amendment Bill. I pay tribute to the Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for the Capital Territory (Mr Ellicott), who is at the table. The Australian Film Commission found its genesis with the genius- I use the word ‘genius’ in well-founded terms- of John Grey Gorton. It was further nurtured and encouraged by Gough Whitlam, and I say that, to the Minister’s credit, he has also done a great deal to encourage the Australian film industry. I should also include the Minister for Post and Telecommunications (Mr Staley), who has had a hand in it. I am a film buff from way back. As a kid, whenever I could get sixpence to go to the movies I went, and I have loved them ever since. I am still a keen filmgoer and have an interest in the history of Australian films. A few months ago I had the pleasure of viewing with my wife the old Charles Chauvel classic, Forty Thousand Horsemen. These days it is a museum piece but it is a testimony to the skill that we developed as film makers before the war. Certainly it is a most significant contribution to the history of its time and to the history of the industry at the time. In fact our history would be poorer without such cinematic pieces as the Tait Brothers’ 1906 epic The Kelly Gang, the first film feature in Australia. Anybody who has seen that film will marvel at its technical excellence.
So it is with the Longford productions On Our Selection and The Sentimental Bloke, which for lots of reasons are a great compendium of our early history. Of course, we had the Frank Hurley masterpieces of documentary and the Ken Hall productions such as Tall Timbers of 1937 and later The Sundowners, Mutiny on the Bounty, The Overlanders and Jedda. They are all films that would evoke a good deal of nostalgic feeling for Australians when they remember them. Perhaps they were not the pinnacle of perfection in cinema, but they are an integral part of our heritage and a mirror of ourselves as a nation at that time.
We have reason to be very proud of our early film history. In 1896 film screening and film making began in Australia only one year after the world’s first public screening in Paris. Maurice Sestier produced Australia’s first film which was screened in Sydney. It included footage of the Melbourne Cup. That was in 1896 and the film is now held in the National Library. Anybody who has a yen to check the history of Australian film making should make an effort to see it. Those early days marked Australia as innovators in the field of the camera. I would like to quote from John Hinde ‘s article in the National Times. Anybody who is interested in films would know of John Hinde who does film reviews for the Australian Broadcasting Commission. He wrote an article in the National Times a couple of weeks ago in which he said that we were putting out 77 films a year at the turn of the century with a population of only three million people. At that time we were entitled to believe that certainly we were very prolific in film making.
Of course, this had ramifications in other areas as in the building of theatres. By 1 920 we could boast 750 picture theatres plus other places where films were being screened, such as church halls, tents and so on. The recent movie starring John Meillon and Johnny Ewart, The Picture Show Man, reflects those early days in the motion picture business. I found it a very pleasant interlude and I am sure that anybody who saw it would have thought likewise. Talking of the early days of films reminds me of one of our folk heroes, dear old Chips Rafferty. The Minister for Post and Telecommunications (Mr Staley), who is sitting at the table, bears some resemblance to Chips. Chips, with a total commitment to the Australian film industry, always claimed that it suffered from the fact that Australians spoke English. I do not think he included himself. Perhaps his most epic line was in Mutiny on the Bounty when he was hurling breadfruit trees at Captain Bligh who sailed away in the distance. His epic Une was, ‘You bloody lunatic’. I hope you will excuse that lapse, Mr Chairman.
Anyhow, Chips thought that our films suffered because Australian’s spoke English even if he did not. Perhaps if we had spoken Arunta we would have had a more healthly indigenous film industry. Nothing has really changed. The Peat Marwick report to which the honourable member for Lalor (Mr Barry Jones) referred in his speech shows the degree of competition we have to face against the imported product. It points out the fact that we have been flooded with American films. It shows the domination of the United States of America on the he tie market. The report also shows the impact of the Australian Film Commission and, to some degree, the number of films it has funded. Our enthusiasm for film making continued from its illustrious early beginnings up to the 1940s. Then it dwindled away to nothing; perhaps to one a year, if that. That was a barren period and the industry was not rejuvenated until the Gorton and Whitlam eras when we got back to producing about eight to ten films a year.
That barren period coincided with our cultural cringe, with our total obeisance to the United States of America. During the 1950s and 1960s we were one of the world’s major importers of American films. We put up with the worst kind of paltry B-grade rubbish from the United States of America. We grew up with borrowed heroes, Johnny Weismuller, Buck Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy and perhaps Pat Boone. If we were female in the 1950s I might say that then our heroines were thin on the ground, just an overall vision of prom queens and sweater girls who happily exchanged the juke boxes for a dishwasher and lived happily every after.
– Like Mae West.
-The honourable member for Banks may remember Mae West, but she was just a little bit before my time. One does not have to be a deep thinker or a graduate in political philosophy to detect the manipulation of young minds such as the Prime Minister at that time sought to achieve by encouraging this kind of WASP-like propaganda. It was consistent with what we, as a nation, were doing in real life at that time. We were selling out our heritage. This imported American rubbish was almost part of the state idealogy. It nurtured dutiful sons and daughters of the conservative establishment. It sponsored willing workers for the capitalist system. It fostered the climate for our shameful participation in Vietnam. ‘Far fetched’ one might cry but I do not think so. Nobody doubts the influence of films on young people. Why would we bother with censorship grading if that were not the case?
During the 1950s everything great was supposed to come from America. Robert Menzies and his cronies were very happy with the great American dream as portrayed by the all American boys such as John Wayne et cetera and their female counterparts. Perhaps Debbie Reynolds might be representative. Why would our leaders have encouraged an indigenous film industry? The imported American product was doing a great job of socialising our youth.
If governments did not consider films as part of the state apparatus and, as such, likely to influence national philosophy, why did the Minister for Home Affairs (Mr Ellicott), last year, refuse permission for a film to be made which cast a very critical appraisal over the multinational question? I refer, of course, to David Ireland’s The Unknown Industrial Prisoner and its commentary on Shell Oil in Australia. It is to his credit, however, that the Minister has decided to alter the legislation so that the possibility of that sort of veto by the Minister is removed.
No doubt, since the naivety of the 1950s and the early 1960s we Australians are not seen by this Government as being quite so malleable or so gullible or it feels that it can rely on the expected increase of private enterprise capital to regulate the industry along philosophically accepted lines. For example, My Brilliant Career, which is a rather beautiful Austraiian film made recently, is really a watered down feminist tract made acceptable to the commercial market at the expense of Miles Franklin’s story, which exhibited a very strong feminist stand.
The Australian Film Commission has not always had a smooth passage but it is not operating in a Sunday school environment. It is in a very competitive field. It can be proud of a considerable achievement. It is charged with a heavy responsibility in fact. It has to encourage the aspirations of the creative artists. It has to develop the talents of those who would make their careers in the film industry. It has to provide the film and television public with entertainment and enlightenment- an Augustan precept of Johnsonian dimensions. It has to attract more private investment. Overlaying all this is the need to be commercially successful here and abroad. Conditions have changed a great deal since its inception. The Commission has to compete nowadays with the newer State film commissions for the pool of talent in Australia and for the investment capital.
Before I conclude my remarks I would like to read from an article appearing in the Australian the other day by a very lucid and eloquent gentleman. I am referring to Max Harris. He was talking about our need to develop a film industry that is competitive on the world market without necessarily losing its local image. He stated:
The American cinematic convention is that overstatement is good, and understatement is bad. The complex must be made simple. If content is not easily understood it is not worth understanding. Villains must wear black hats. Heroes must wear white.
I note that one Minister at the table has a thatch of black hair and the other Minister has a white hat. I wonder whether that signifies anything. The article continued:
Herein lies the quandary for the Australian film-maker. For the industry to nourish economically the American market must be cracked. To crack the American market Australians must make different sorts of film. If the film-making is changed the unique creative character of our emergent tradition is lost.
What a tragedy that would be.
For we have surprised the world. We simple, sun-bronzed vulgar yobs are producing films characterised by a delicate portraiture of human sensibilities. We have taken over and developed the idiom of Losey without falling into the trap of being arty-crafty after the fashion of French film-making.
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I want to take up a point made by the Minister for Home Affairs (Mr Ellicott). He made an uncharacteristically Freudian slip when he said that our films ought to have universal appeal aimed at the English speaking audience. He did qualify that a little later, but that illustrates the point that I was making. If we are aiming at that global audience and we are aiming at maximising all the time not our real appeal but what we think to be our appeal, we may run the risk of diminishing what is unique about us and concentrating too much on what we think is the perception of the audience. To take a perfect example in the couple of minutes I think I will be allowed, I refer to the Swedish industry again. If Bergman had said ‘As there are only seven million of us in Sweden and there are 350 million people in the English-speaking world, surely it would be sensible for us to make our films in English with an American cast that because then we would appeal to everybody’, he would have lost the particularity that made the Swedish film experiment of such interest.
– I do not disagree.
-I am glad that the Minister says that he does not disagree. That is very good. The other thing to be remembered about the risk involved in going for the global industry is that we would raise the ante so much in trying to have world-wide appeal that we may force people into producing films that are more grandiose in scale without much possibility of recouping what they want. It is generally estimated that a film has to gross $5 at the box office for every $ 1 invested before one breaks even. To give an example, the worst disaster in recent filmmaking history was the American film Tora, Tora, Tora or, as it is known in the trade, ‘Turkey, Turkey, Turkey’. The point about Tora, Tora, Tora was that it cost $20m to make but it grossed $80m. In most terms a film that grosses $80 is a bonanza. But, because the film was required to gross $100m to reach break-even point, it was a disaster. The point is that a film that costs $ 1 m and makes $6m is a success and a film that costs $20m and makes $80 is a failure. It is absolutely relative.
The final comment I make is simply that I think there has been too much emphasis on profit in the past, even here in Australia. Among the films that have gone down, and deservedly so, are those which have been made by people, generally committees of accountants, who have sat down and said: ‘We will make a bonanza out of this. We have a great commercial proposition’. They do not have any kind of idea in their skulls of what they want to do with the film. They have only the clear idea that they want to make some money out of it. They might just as well be in the plastics industry or manufacturing pharmaceuticals as making films.
– It is an artistic endeavour.
– And it is a matter of obsession. I think we need fewer formula films and more obsessional films. We need the kind of films about which the director says: ‘I have to make this film. I will mortgage the house, I will sell the furniture, I will pawn the family, I will sell my mother-in-law into slavery, but I must make this film, whatever the cost’. Not enough of those films are being made and too many of the committee-type films are being made.
Amendment agreed to.
Bill, as amended, agreed to.
Bill reported with an amendment; report- by leave- adopted.
Bill (on motion by Mr Ellicott)- by leaveread a third time.
Motion (by Mr Ellicott) proposed:
That the House do now adjourn.
– I wish to raise some matters in relation to the forthcoming Australian bicentenary celebrations. I am interested in the celebrations of the bicentenary because I represent the electorate of Sydney, the site of the first settlement of 1778. Now that the Australian Bicentennial Authority has been constituted and its members appointed, planning for the celebrations can get under way. These plans can ensure that we have both a successful and a worthwhile commemoration of the event of 1788. The celebrations will obviously be a huge success. It will be a huge task for the Authority to sift through suggestions and finally decide on and implement projects for the celebrations. Fortunately the Authority can look to the American celebration as a guide to the depth of planning which is necessary for successful celebrations.
There is no doubt that the planning must be long range, as it is complex. Some projects must begin now if they are to be ready for the bicentenary. No doubt many members of this House have special projects and schemes which they feel are worthy and in line with the celebration. I believe also there is a bicentennial history project under way which deserves the support of the Authority. As I have said, I have a special interest in the celebration because it is the anniversary of a settlement which began in my electorate in Sydney in 1788. For some time now I have expressed the view that a fitting way to celebrate the bicentenary of the European settlement in Australia would be a large scale project in the Sydney area designed to resettle people in the region of the first settlement. I wish to urge all members of this House to consider my proposal and support it.
The following factors have given rise to my proposal. It is common knowledge that for many years people have been leaving the city. The city had become an unfashionable place for at least the wealthy to live. As people left the city industry and commerce moved in. Those people who remained in the city generally did so because rents were cheaper and so they put up with otherwise unpleasant conditions. In the last few years that population drift away from the city has been reversed. Suddenly it has become fashionable to live in the city again. There are a number of ways to account for this reversal. Life in the inner city means easy access to services and entertainment facilities. It dramatically reduces fuel bills for travel from home to work or to leisure facilities. This is a major consideration for many people with the ever rising cost of petrol. As well, of course, the inner city has an undoubted charm of its own. This is to be found in the history which is so evident in the city; the cultural and entertainment facilities which are available and, of course, the charm of the city which has been formed by the characters who live in the city.
People are beginning to rediscover these benefits of city life. They are benefits which I can readily testify to, having been an inner city dweller all my life. Unfortunately this population drift back to the city is having its disadvantages. For one thing it is forcing up the cost of housing dramatically. Both the cost of buying and of renting inner city accommodation is getting to the point that traditional city dwellers are having to uproot themselves and leave the areas they have been accustomed to in search of cheaper accommodation. With them they take away the spirit of city dwellers, a spirit which has evolved from that of the first settlers. This spirit is being destroyed. Also being destroyed is that network of community relations and associations which have been formed over generations. So the people who stuck it out in the city, despite the noise, the pollution, the industry, the poverty and the ramshackle housing are being forced to leave their environment. To save these people, to maintain their way of life, accommodation must be provided for them in the city. There is an extreme and urgent need for housing in the inner city. I am not talking about expensive, exclusive penthouse apartments; I am talking about low cost housing- housing which the long time residents of the inner city can afford. Families and pensioners need support from governments; I am speaking about people.
Earlier this year I canvassed my proposal for low cost inner city housing along the foreshores between Woolloomooloo and Balmain. Among those people I approached was the Minister for Housing and Construction (Mr Groom). He has praised the concept of the Government involving itself in such a project. I have not sought the permission of the Minister for Post and Telecommunications (Mr Staley) who is at the table but I have correspondence dealing with this matter which I wish to have incorporated in Hansard. I ask permission for a letter from the Minister for
Administrative Services (Mr John McLeay) to me dated 1 May 1980 agreeing to the project, to be incorporated in Hansard.
The letter read as follows-
MINISTER FOR ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES
MINISTER ASSISTING THE MINISTER FOR DEFENCE
Canberra, ACT 2600 1May 1980
Mr J. L. McMahon, M.P.,
Member for Sydney,
Canberra, ACT 2600
Dear Mr McMahon,
My colleague, the Hon. Ray Groom, M.P., Minister for Housing and Construction, has passed to me your suggestion that as part of the Australian Bicentenary celebrations, housing and recreation facilities be built for low income earners on the foreshores of Sydney Harbour.
Mr J. B. Reid, Chairman of the Australian Bicentennial Authority, to whom I had referred the matter, has now advised me that he has sent the relevant correspondence to Mr J. W. Utz, Chairman of the Bicentennial Committee to be set up in New South Wales, for the suggestion to be taken up by that Committee. Mr Utz is also a director of the Australian Bicentennial Authority.
Iam attaching a copy of Mr Reid ‘s letter to me in which he expressed his appreciation for your suggestion.
I have passed a copy of Mr Reid ‘s letter also to Mr Groom.
– I ask leave also to have incorporated in Hansard a letter from Mr J. B. Reid, the Chairman of the Australian Bicentennial Authority.
The letter read as follows-
THE AUSTRALIAN BICENTENNIAL AUTHORITY
Commonwealth Government Centre, Chifley Square, Sydney 2000
GPO Box 4002
Sydney 200 1
Telephone 221 1088 28 March 1980
The Hon. J. E. McLeay, M.P.,
Minister for Administrative Services,
House of Representatives,
Canberra, ACT 2600
My Dear Minister,
I have for acknowledgement your letter of 1 1 March enclosing correspondence from the Hon. Ray Groom, M.P., Minister for Housing and Construction, concerning a proposal made by Mr J. L’. McMahon, M.P.
What Mr McMahon envisages is entirely within the ambit of the Bicentennial celebrations as contemplated by the Authority in so far as it has had the opportunity to define the scope and form of what will happen in 1 988.
As you know, theAuthority was only incorporated in January and the Board, appointed by you, only held its inaugural meeting on 20 February.
The plan is to have the fullest decentralisation of planning of the period of celebrations. To that end the State Committees, including the one in New South Wales will be formed within the next few months.
Once established, its role will be to seek ideas and support for projects and enlist the involvement of State and local Governments, community groups and other interested people.
Without in any way procrastinating, I will send the correspondence to Mr J. W. Utz, a director of the Authority and Chairman of the NSW Committee, to take up with his Committee when it is formed.
I shall be grateful if you will pass on to Mr McMahon my appreciation for his interest and thinking to pass this proposal on to us.
– There is one other letter from the Chairman of the Ethnic Communities’ Council of New South Wales, Mr J. M. Samios, to the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser). I would like that letter incorporated in Hansard because the Chairman likes to be involved in the bicentenary.
The letter read as follows-
ETHNIC COMMUNITIES’ COUNCIL OF N.S.W.
P.O. Box J 15
154 Elizabeth Street
Telephone: 233 1399 21April 1980
The Rt. Hon. J. M. Fraser, C.H., M.P.,
CANBERRA, A.C.T. 2600
Dear Prime Minister,
Our Council has read with great interest the reports of Parliamentary proceedings, regarding the establishment of the Australian Bicentennial Authority, and wishes to congratulate you on the Authority’s establishment and expresses its good wishes for its successful operation.
The success of the Authority and its aims is naturally assured if Australians take an interest in and offer help for its work and also are properly represented on the highest level.
While we fully realise that not every group, due to the limitation of membership, can have representation, it has nevertheless been noted with concern, that members of ethnic communities are completely under represented on the Authority. Not only have migrants of non-English-speaking origin contributed to Australia’s progress from the first day of Governor Phillip’s landing, they also currently represent, together with their dependants, practically one quarter of Australia’s population.
We are seriously wondering whether the Government advisors have overlooked this fact, and would respectfully suggest that suitable members of non-English-speaking origin be given a chance to participate at the highest level in such an important task.
M. SAMIOS, M.B.E.
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were deemed to have been presented on 13 May 1980, pursuant to statute:
Audit Act-Regulations-Statutory Rules 1980, Nos. 91, 92.
Defence Act-Regulations-Statutory Rules 1 980, No. 95.
Defence Act, Naval Defence Act and Air Force ActRegulationsStatutory Rules 1980, No. 94.
Defence Amendment Act- Interim DeterminationsStatutory Rules 1980, No. 93.
Lands Acquisition Act-
Land acquired for pipeline purposes- Young to Wagga Wagga and Cootamundra, N.S.W.
Statement of lands acquired by agreement authorised under sub-section 7(1).
Naval Defence Act- Regulations- Statutory Rules 1980, No. 96.
Public Service Act- Regulations- Statutory Rules 1980, Nos. 89, 90, 97.
Public Service Arbitration Act- Public Service Arbitrator- Determinations accompanied by statements regarding possible inconsistency with the law-
No. 453- Transport Workers’ Union of Australia.
No. 88- Australian Broadcasting Commission Staff Association.
Nos. 89 and 90- Administrative and Clerical Officers Association, Commonwealth Public Service.
No. 91- Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union of Australia.
No. 92- Amalgamated Metal Workers’ and Shipwrights Union and others.
No. 93- Australian Broadcasting Commission Staff Associaton.
No. 94- Amalgamated Metal Workers’ and Shipwrights Union and others.
No. 95- Australian Journalists Association.
No. 97- Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union.
No. 98- Australian Public Service Association (Fourth Division Officers) and others.
No. 99- Australian Public Service Association (Fourth Division Officers ).
No. 100- Australian Public Service Association (Fourth Division Officers).
No. 101- Administrative and Clerical Officers’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service and others.
No. 102- Federated Clerks Union of Australia.
No. 103- Amalgamated Metal Workers’ and Shipwrights Union and others.
No. 104- Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners of Australia and others.
No. 105- Civil Air Operation Officers’ Association of Australia.
No. 106- Commonwealth Foremen’s Association of Australia (Australian Public Service ).
No. 1 07- Transport Workers ‘ Union of Australia.
No. 108- Australian Workers’ Union.
No. 109- Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union of Australia.
No. 1 10-Amalgamated Metal Workers’ and Shipwrights Union and others.
No. 11 1- Federated Ironworkers’ Association of Australia.
No. 1 12-Federated Liquor and Allied Industries Employees Union of Australia.
No. 1 13- Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union of Australia.
No. 1 14- Federated Furnishing Trade Society of Australia.
No. 1 15- Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners of Australia and others.
No. 1 16- Federated Engine Drivers’ and Firemen’s Association of Australia.
No. 1 1 7- Transport Workers’ Union of Australia.
No. 1 18- Australian Workers’ Union.
No. 1 1 9- Electrical Trades Union of Australia.
No. 120- Electrical Trades Union of Australia.
Nos. 121 and 122- Amalgamated Metal Workers’ and Shipwrights Union and others.
No. 123- Australian Public Service Artisans’ Association.
No. 124- Australian Public Service Association (Fourth Division Officers).
No. 125- Electrical Trades Union of Australia.
No. 126- Amalgamated Metal Workers’ and Ship wrights Union and others.
Seat of Government (Administration) ActOrdinances 1 980-
No. 1 1 -Protection of Lands (Amendment).
No. 12- Remuneration (Amendment).
House adjourned at 10.59 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated:
asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice, on 6 June 1979:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
I refer the honourable member to the answer provided by Senator Carrick to a question without notice asked by Senator Keefe on 20 February 1980. (See Senate Hansard, 23 April 1980, page 1703.)
asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 10 October 1979:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
visitor visas. The corresponding figures for 1977-78 are not available.
Statistics showing a breakdown of representations supporting successful and unsuccessful applicants are not available and there is no record of how many representations were made by members of Parliament as a proportion of all representations. It is not unusual for several representations to be made in respect of one case.
asked the Minister for Productivity, upon notice, on 22 November 1979:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Refugees from Timor (Question No. 5296)
asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 1 9 February 1980:
On what dates, in what numbers and by what ships or aircraft have refugees arrived in Australia from Timor in the last 5 years?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Immediately after the outbreak of fighting in East Timor in 1975 groups of evacuees began arriving in Darwin by various means. Details of initial arrivals are as follows:
Following negotiations with the Indonesian authorities, agreement was reached in 1978 on a list of approximately 600 Timorese eligible for family reunion with close relatives in Australia. Of the group on the agreed list, 99 persons were approved for immediate entry and arrived in Australia under charter arrangements on 13 and 14 January 1979. The remainder are being processed in accordance with normal Indonesian and Australian migration procedures. To date an additional 190 persons have arrived. They travelled on regular international flights.
In addition, Australia has accepted for permanent settlement former residents of Timor who had evacuated to other countries.
asked the Minister for Home Affairs, upon notice, on 19 February 1980:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Administrative Services-Mr A. W. McCasker (Chair), Mr C. E. T. Terrell, Mr J. T. Davies, Mr G. Terei, Miss R. Rawson.
Attorney-General ‘s- Mr J. Gilchrist.
Education- Mr J. P. Burnett.
Environment, Housing and Community Development- Mr M. Bourke, Mr H. J. Higgs, Mr R. Mills.
Finance- Mr D. Knapp, Mr D. Bentley.
Health-Mr H. V. Pribac, Mr D. Aisbitt, Mr B. Pennefather, Ms S. Liki.
Industry and Commerce- Mr J. A. Clark, Mr R. Rothwell.
Prime Minister and Cabinet- Mr G. Blunden, Mr Reader, Mr D. W. Whitbread.
Science-Dr B. T. England, Dr D. Powell, Dr Sullivan, Dr Preston, Miss B. Smith.
Australian Telecommunications Commission- Mr N. R. Crane.
National Library of Australia- Mr A. Ellis, Mr B. Yates.
Public Service Board- Mr G. H. Gilmour, Mr C. Mobbs, MrK.W.Heydon.
Committee of Inquiry into Public Libraries former Executive Member, Mr A. Harris, O.B.E.
Information on the designations and salaries of members of the interdepartmental working group is not readily available.
Mr T. F. Paterson (Chair), First Assistant Secretary, Coordination and Management Division, Department of Home Affairs.
Mr F. J. L. Brice, Assistant Secretary, Cultural Affairs Branch, Department of Home Affairs.
Mr J. T. Davies, Director, Heritage Section, Department of Home Affairs.
Mr P. L. Edgar, Director, Institutions and International Policy Section, Department of Home Affairs.
Mr A. H. Cruttenden, Acting Director, Education Planning Group, Department of Education.
Mr J. D. Hall, First Assistant DirectorGeneral, Rehabilitation and Subsidies Division, Department of Social Security.
Mr T. McClelland, Senior Adviser, Briefing Branch, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Mrs M. O’Dea, Principal Project Officer, Policy Studies and International Activities Branch, Depanment of Science and the Environment.
Mr R. Smith, Chief Finance Officer, Social Security Division, Department of Finance.
Mr G. B. Harvey, Director, Legislation and Finance Coordination Section, Schools Commission.
Mr W. D. Thorn, Assistant DirectorGeneral, Social Sciences and Humanities Division, National Library of Australia.
Mr A. Ellis, Assistant DirectorGeneral, Networks and Co-ordination Branch, National Library of Australia (resigned from the National Library on 18 January 1980).
Mr R. H. Arthur, Assistant Commissioner, Resources Branch, Tertiary Education Commission.
The classification of members range from Second Division Officer, Level 3, to Third Division Officer, Clerk, Class 10. The respective salary ranges are:
asked the Minister for Home Affairs, upon notice, on 19 February 1980: ( 1.) Which bibliographical data bases can the National Library of Australia currently access.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
I have sought advice from the National Library of Australia on these matters and the following information has been provided:
1 ) to (3) In order to make Australian and selected overseas data bases available online throughout Australia, the National Library is developing ANBIBNET- the Australian National Bibliographic Network- on an appropriate cost recovery basis and with charges equalised throughout Australia, in accordance with the Library’s policies.
Pending provision of a federal communications network, the Library is using the communications network facilities of federal agencies and commercial bureaux for a range of feasibility studies to give access to appropriate data bases, hence charges have not yet been equalised throughout Australia nor has there been established a single basis for appropriate cost recovery because this has so far been achieved by services in kind and by resource sharing as well as by charges.
Because the number of data bases currently accessible by the Library exceeds 100 they are listed separately. This list is annotated to indicate whether the data bases are created in Australia and, if accessible in Australia, under what kind of resource sharing arrangements.
1976- 77-$ 14,700
The decline in annual costs is due to reductions in telecommunications charges over the period and to the Library’s policy of training other organisations to use these systems directly.
(a) The data bases are made available by the vendors as a normal commercial operation and the Library’s access is guaranteed only by the continuing commercial availability of these systems.
The Library makes available to the nation, through mutually beneficial resource sharing arrangements with federal agencies and others, a number of data bases.
Of these the MEDLARS data base from the United States National Library of Medicine (MEDLARS, RTECS, CATLINE, SERLINE, Health Planning Data Base) are covered by contractual provisions regarding costs, access and consultation as follows:
Memorandum of understanding between the National Library and the United States National Library of Medicine provides the National Library with sole rights on a ‘continuous’ basis to provide MEDLARS services in Australia. United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) has similar agreements with MEDLARS centres in nine other countries.
The BIOSIS Previews data base is also available through the Life Sciences network. Access is guaranteed only by the continuing commercial availability of the data base. Lease fees and royalty levels are set annually by the data base supplier. There is opportunity but not formal contractual provision for ongoing technical liaison.
Some of the data base suppliers, however, impose additional royalty charges and contracts with the suppliers have provisions as stated for BIOSIS Previews above.
The costs of using the bureau are contractually determined and are at present $ 1 5-30 per hour depending on the level of use.
In addition to these costs there are also the costs of leasing the data bases. Three of these, ERIC, SSCI and SCI have been purchased by the Library for feasibility studies aimed at assessing public need for computer based information services at a total cost of 530,700 per annum.
The cost of two additional data bases, Chemical Abstracts and Arts and Humanities Citation Index was authorised out of the Trust fund which source is no longer available. The cost of these files in 1978-9 was 516,000 and in 1979-80 $28,000.
In respect of the data bases provided in conjunction with the Department of Productivity and the CSIRO, no costs were incurred by the Library.
The cost for MEDLARS data bases are currently borne by the Library as part of the resource sharing arrangements with the Department of Health, which currently meets the computer costs of the network, and users, who currently meet the telecommunications costs, and were:
Costs to the National Library for BIOSIS Previews have been:
The end user charge for a search involving the use of the commercial bureau to clients of the National Library has been set at $20 for a standard search based on 20 minutes connect time and not more than 300 citations. This charge takes account of resource sharing by users.
The charges for searches for Library clients using the Health Sciences Network are:
Multifile searches MEDLARS and BIOSIS Previews-A retrospective search on the same topic can be run on both MEDLARS and BIOSIS Previews for a $10 discount on the combined price. e.g. MEDLARS, 1972- and BIOSIS Previews, 1973- = $25 + $30 -$10 = $45.
SDI searches on the two data bases are available for: 6 months, $60; 12months,$100.
A = Available from Australian sources.
D = Domestic origin, i.e., created in Australia.
F = Foreign origin, i.e., not created in Australia.
G = Available from the National Library in conjunction with government instrumentalities.
N= Available on National Library hardware and software.
P = Available from the National Library in conjunction with private enterprise.
Abstracted Business Information (ABI/Inform, Inform)
Abstracts of instructional material; abstracts of research material (AIM /ARM)
Accountants Index (Acct)
Agricola (U.S. National Agricultural Library)
America History and Life
American Petroleum Institute Literature Index ( apilit)
American Petroleum Institute Patent Index (apipat)
American Statistics Index (ASI)
APTIC (Air Pollution Tech. Info. Ctr. and the Franklin Institute)
Aquatic Science and Fisheries Abstracts
Arts and Humanities Citation Index, A, F, P
Australian Education Index, A, D
Australian National Bibliography, A, D
Australian Public Affairs Information Service ( APAIS ), A, D
Australian Road Research Documentation, A, D
Australian Science Index, A, D
Australian Industry Reports (Austre), A, D
BHRA Fluid Engineering (British Hydromechanics Research Association)
Bibliography of Urban Studies in Australia, A, D
Biosis group (Biocodes, Biosis Previews), A, F, G
Business (Canadian business news)
Canadian Business Periodicals Index (CBPI )
Canadian Newspaper Index (CNI)
Chemicals Abstracts group (CA Search, CAS, CHEM, CHEMDEX, CHEMNAME) A, F, P
Chemical Industry Notes (CIN)
Child Abuse and Neglect
Cis/Index (Congressional Information Service)
Claims group (U.S. and foreign patents)
Cold regions: Bibliography of Cold Regions Science and Technology: Antarctic Bibliography
Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux Abstracts (CAB abstracts)
Compendex (Engineering Index), A, F, P
Comprehensive Dissertation Abstracts (CDI)
Conference Papers Index
Congressional Record (Crecord)
Current Research Information System (CRIS)
Defense Market Measures System (Frost and Sullivan DM2)
Disclosure (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reports)
Economics Abstracts International
Educational Resources Information Centre (ERIC), A, F, N,P
EIS Industrial Plants (Economic Information Systems)
EIS nonmanufacturing establishments (Economic Information Systems)
Elcom (Electronics and Computer Literature)
Encylopaedia of Associations
Energyline (Environment Information Center, Inc.)
Enviroline (Environment Information Center, Inc.)
Environmental Periodicals Bibliography
Exceptional Child Education Resources
Federal Register Abstracts (Fedreg)
Food Science and Technology Abstracts (FSTA)
Foods Adlibra (Food Technology)
Forest Products (Worldwide Forest Products Literature)
Foundation Grants Index
Georef (American Geological Institute )
GPO Monthly Catalog ( U.S. Government Printing Office)
Grants (U.S. Government Grant Programs)
Information Service in Mechanical Engineering (ISMEC)
Inspec (Institution of Electrical Engineers), A, F, P
International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (IPA)
International Road Research Documentation, A, F, P
Labordoc (International Labour Organization)
Language and Language Behaviour Abstracts (LLBA)
LC Marc Distribution Service (Libcon) (Library of Congress Catalogue), A, F, N
Library and Information Science Abstracts ( LISA)
Management Contents (Management)
Maritime Research Information Service Abstracts (MRIS Abstracts)
Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System (Medlars)
Group 1 (Medline, Rtecs, Serline, Catline, Health Planning and Administration), A, F, G
Group 2 (Clinprot, Cancerlit, Cancerproj, Bicethissline, Histline, Avline), (not in Australia)
Metals Abstracts; Alloys Index (Metadex), A, F, P
Meteorological and Geastrophysical Abstracts (MGA)
MLA Bibliography ( Modern Language Association)
National Information Center for Educational Media (NICEM)
National Information Center for Instructional Materials: National Instructional Materials Information System (NICSEM/NIMIS)
National Newspaper Index (U.S.)
National Technical Information Service (NTIS) (U.S.), A, F,P
Newspaper Index (U.S. newspapers)
Oceanic Abstracts (Oceanic)
P/E News (American Petroleum Institute)
Paperchem (Institute of Paper Chemistry)
Pestdoc ( agriculture chemicals literature )
Pharmaceutical News Index (PNI)
PIRA (Research Association for Paper and Board Printing and Packaging Industry)
Pollution Abstracts (Pollution)
Predicasts Group (PTS, PROMT)
Psychological Abstracts (Psych Abstracts)
Public Affairs Information Service (PAIS International)
Que bee Actualite ( Newspaper Index )
RAPRA Abstracts ( Rubber and Plastics Research Association of Great Britain)
RILM Abstracts: Repertoire International de Litterature Musicale
Ringdoc (pharmaceutical literature)
SAE Abstracts (Society of Automotive Engineers)
Safety Science Abstracts
Science Citation Index (SCI, Scisearch), A, F, N
Searchable Physics Information Notices (SPIN)
Smithsonian Science Information Exchange Current Research (SSIE)
Social Sciences Citation Index (Social Scisearch, SSCI), A, F, N,P
Sport (sport, recreation, sports medicine and physical education)
Surface Coatings Abstracts
Titus (Institute Textile de France)
Tulsa: Petroleum Abstracts
UK Marc (British National Bibliography), A, F, N
Union List of Higher Degree Theses in Australian Libraries, A, D
United States Political Science Documents ( USPSD )
US Contract Awards (USCA)
Weldasearch (Welding Institute)
World Aluminium Abstracts ( WAA)
World Patents Index
asked the Minister for Ad ministrative Services, upon notice, on 20 February, 1980:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
1 ) (a) Section 1 14 of the Constitution exempts the Commonwealth from payment of local government rates. However successive Commonwealth Governments have agreed to ex-gratia payments in lieu of rates in certain circumstances.
asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 20 February 1980:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 2 1 February 1980:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Such situations are virtually confined, therefore, to cases where parents have concealed the existence of their children when originally seeking permission to enter or remain in Australia.
In her paper entitled Family Reunion and Australia’s Immigration, Mrs Langtry exampled cases involving immigrants from several countries who deliberately used deception to gain entry to Australia and who now want members of their families to join them here. The people who practised deception broke immigration law and in many such cases any hardships which are subsequently claimed have been knowingly self-inflicted.
Cases involving deception are reviewed in the light of conditions under which the misrepresentations occurred and the hardships which might result from a refusal to allow family reunion to take place in Australia. There are degrees of seriousness in each case and it would be unreasonble and impracticable to treat them all severely. In certain circumstances family reunion is allowed to proceed. However, the use of deception to gain entry to Australia must not be encouraged. Where the seriousness of the deception and the weight of circumstances are against family reunion taking place in Australia the admission of family members will not be approved. In such circumstances the Government has no objection to family reunion taking place overseas.
asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 26 February 1980:
Has his Department received any applications for permanent residence in Australia from Japanese immigrants living in coastal areas in central Queensland.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Statistics on applications for resident status are not broken down into areas within States. However, statistics are available for the whole of Queensland. These show that in 1978-79 applications covering two Japanesepeople living in Queensland were received and approved. The corresponding figure for the previous financial year was 10.
asked the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs, upon notice, on 5 March 1980:
What sum was spent by his Department on public relations in ( 1 ) 1 978-79 and (2 ) the period 1 July 1 979 to date.
-The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Trade and Resources, upon notice, on 6 March 1980:
-The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 19 March 1980:
What is the production cost per week of the publications ( a ) From the Ethnic Press and ( b ) For the Ethnic Media.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, upon notice, on 19 March 1980:
-The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
There are an estimated 101,800 veterans aged 60-64 who served in a theatre of war and may thus be eligible to receive a service pension, subject to an income test. At 30 June 1979, 47,163 veterans aged 60-64 years were receiving a service pension.
The following are approximate numbers, by age, of those eligible veterans who are currently in receipt of a service pension:
asked the Minister for Administrative Services, upon notice, on 19 March 1980:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Administrative Services, upon notice, on 20 March 1 980:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
(a) The Minister for Administrative Services was responsible for negotiations on behalf of the Commonwealth.
(a) There is no record of Ministers having met.
Federal Police at Airport Terminals (Question No. 5746)
asked the Minister for Administrative Services, upon notice, on 27 March 1980:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The organisation of the Australian Federal Police is based on rank, and not on established positions as is the case with the Commonwealth Public Service. Consequently, within a particular Division of the Force, the deployment of manpower resources is responsive to an ongoing assessment of priorities. In the case of airports, the assignment of police reflects in part an assessment of the threat of terrorist violence, and because of the security consideration that this entails, I have accepted the advice of the Commissioner of Police that the information sought should not be disclosed.
asked the Minister for Housing and Construction, upon notice, on 27 March 1980:
-The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
1 ) The amounts of grants paid under the Home Savings Grants Scheme in the periods were:
The numbers of grants paid under the Scheme in the periods were:
) (a) The distribution of the financial size of grants in respect of grants approved under the Homes Savings Grants Act 1 976 in the period is:
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 2 April 1 980:
– The answer to the honourable member’s questionis as follows:
Under the above formula patients in private nursing homes throughout Australia are put on the same footing each time benefits are reviewed, and there is no inequity between States. However, to achieve the same 70 per cent coverage in all States, benefits have necessarily to be higher in those States with higher fee levels than Queensland.
asked the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs, upon notice, on 2 April 1980:
In view of the problems faced in the opal mining township of Andamooka, SA, will he give consideration to appointing an agent of the Commonwealth Employment Service at Andamooka.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The decision to establish an Agency of the Commonwealth Employment Service is taken only if the level of transactions in the area in question warrants the provision of this kind of facility. I understand from my Department that this is not the case in Andamooka, and that consequently an Agency there is not justified.
I am also advised that the present arrangement of visits by CES staff from the Port Augusta CES Office is sufficient to provide an adequate service to the people of Andamooka.
asked the Minister for Science and the Environment, upon notice, on 22 April 1980:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 29 April 1980:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 30 April 1980:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development and Energy, upon notice, on 4 June 1 979:
-The Minister for National Development and Energy has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:
asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 6 June 1979:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
I refer the honourable member to the answer given by Senator Carrick to Senator Keeffe’s question without notice of 20 February 1 980, which appears on pages 1 703- 1 1 of the Senate Daily Hansard of Wednesday, 23 April 1980.
asked the Minister for Productivity, upon notice, on 6 June 1979 a question relating to Mr Macphee ‘s visit to India from 28 February to 10 March 1979. On 19 February 1980 the question appeared on the notice paper as follows:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
I refer the honourable member to the reply given by Senator Carrick to a question without notice asked by
Senator Keeffe relating to ministerial overseas travel (Senate Hansard, 23 April 1980, pages 1703-12).
asked the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, upon notice, on 1 9 February 1 980:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Concord- 1:1. 48.
Greenslopes- 1 : 1 . 1 5.
asked the Minister for Home Affairs, upon notice, on 19 February 1980:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
I have been advised by the Australia Council-
The Aboriginal Arts Board has not withdrawn funding.
Grants from the Australia Council’s Aboriginal Arts Board have been as follows: 1973-74, $9,009; 1974-75, $55,156; 1976-77, $23,735; 1977-78, $24,500; 1978-79, $30,000; 1979-80, $400. (The grant made in 1978-79 includes a grant of $15,000 for operating costs in the current financial year). Available audited financial statements indicate that the only other amount provided by the Commonwealth was $2,204, from the Aborigines Benefit Trust Fund in 1972-73.
The funds from the Aboriginal Arts Board were granted for administrative and operating costs as well as for special projects by the company. The grant from the Aborigines Benefit Trust Fund was for the salary of an artistic director for the period ended 30 June 1973. Audited reports substantiate that the funds were used for the purposes specified. Details of funding by the Aboriginal Arts Board are outlined in the annual reports of the Australia Council, copies of which will be sent to the honourable member.
So far as can be ascertained, none of the company’s net income was directed to the Papunya community proper. However, income derived by individual artists would indirectly contribute to the economy of the Papunya region.
(a) and (b) Information on similar organisations whose funding has been reduced, and the sums involved, is tabulated below. The variation in grants from year to year occur as a result of Aboriginal Arts Board decisions which take account of the needs of particular communities and the funds available.
Details of the purposes of the grants are outlined in the annual reports of the Australia Council, copies of which will be sent to the honourable member.
Impact of the proposal on the development, revival and knowledge of Aboriginal culture
asked the Minister for Home Affairs, upon notice, on 19 February 1980:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
I have been advised by the Australia Council-
16 November 1972.
The Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company, which sets out its aims and objectives, is too lengthy for inclusion in Hansard. A copy will be made available to the honourable member.
) Mr Andrew Crocker, a person of European descent.
I am unable to provide this information, as the salary of the administrator is a matter which is confidential to the administrator and his employer, the Papunya Tula Artists PtyLtd.
I am informed that Mr Crocker commenced his employment on 3 December 1979.
I am advised that, as far as can be ascertained, none of the company’s net income was directed to the Papunya community as a whole. However, income derived by individual artists would indirectly contribute to the economy of the Papunya region.
asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 20 February 1980:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 13 May 1980, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1980/19800513_reps_31_hor118/>.